Explore endangered species issues and conservation consciousness with Jennifer Bové. While you're here, tackle wildlife trivia and flashcards from the field. Having fun? Follow this site for more news, reviews, and resources from the great outdoors (boots are optional). Also, be sure to stop by Jen's Endangered Species site at About.com
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Jurassic Park + Sophie's Choice = the Future of Zoos?
This ecological crisis is forcing zoos into a role that is
far more demanding than the old days when it was all about showcasing animals
for public amusement.
Zoos are now facing tough decisions. In order to step up to
the global plate and defend declining species effectively, zookeepers
are being asked to make calculated choices, prioritizing the protection and
propagation of species that have the best odds of survival in the wild. Did you
ever see Sophie's
Choice? I didn't, but I know the gist, and it's sad.
- Cloning … probably not dinosaurs, but a variety
of other extinct species are being considered (woolly mammoths are potential
cloning candidates since their DNA has been preserved in permafrost)
- Zoos full of robotic animals because robots are "safer
and more accessible than their living counterparts"
My 5-year-old son would dig the robots, but I'm not feeling
Nevertheless, Paul Waldau, Associate Professor of
Anthrozoology at Canisius made a good
point: "Lots of zoo work is very attuned to the best of conservation. The
leading zoos have been exemplary at trying to get people to pay attention to
this, because even if zoos do everything right and the people don't follow,
we're in trouble."