Zoos (Zoological Gardens)
The word zoo is a short form of zoological garden or zoological park. This is a place where animals are enclosed in structures and the public can visit these places to see the animals. The animals here can also be bred to maintain their populations.
Zoos have been in existence for a long time and they have not only served as places where people visit for fun and entertainment but they have served as sanctuaries for certain species of animals.
First zoo in the world
Zoos have been in existence for over 500o years. Olden and first zoos were mainly constructed by the wealthy people as a show of wealth and power. The first zoo can be traced back to the olden Egypt. This is found in Hierakonpolis which was the first capital city of Upper Egypt in the pre-dynastic period. Evidence has been found in the city to prove that the rulers there kept a private collection of animals that they called menageries. There are records that trace back to 2500BCE that show of expeditions that were taken as they went to look for animals that they could keep. This included giraffes, dolphins, bears, baboons, etc. Currently, this zoo only contains the remains of animals.
Importance of zoos
- Zoos have been used to save some species of animals from extinction. Animals that face high threats of poaching or low survival are kept in zoos where they can be closely monitored to ensure their survival.
- Zoos have also been used as a teaching and learning material. Many schools take their students to zoos where they can learn firsthand knowledge about various species of animals or plants.
- Zoos also play an important role in scientific research. Scientists can use the animals in zoos to carry out research about the properties of various species.
- Zoos also provide a platform where people can get fun and entertainment. People visit zoos during holidays or events as getting to watch and learn about animals.
- Zoos also teach people about the importance of nature conservation. People get to learn about the benefits that animals provide and how they can take care of animals.
- Zoos greatly contribute to the revenue streams of a country. This is when people from other countries visit famous zoos that are around the world.
- Zoos also promote tourism. This can be either domestic tourism or foreign tourism. People travel to zoos to go and view various animals.
Which animals have zoos saved from extinction
- The Eastern Bongo is one of the animals saved from extinctions by zoos. This is an antelope exposed to poaching and also affected by the destruction of their habitat. Zoos around the world have stared breeding programs to control its populations.
- The California condor was also saved from extinction by zoos. There were only 27 of the species left before zoos started breeding programs to increase their populations.
- The Arabian Oryx was also facing extinction due to poaching activities. Zoos made several conservation efforts to ensure the population of the species was increased.
- The Corroboree frog found in Australia also faced the danger of extinction as a result of a Fungus disease outbreak. Breeding programs carried out by zoos in Sydney have restored the population of the species.
- The Bellinger river Turtle species that is also found in Australia lost 90% of their population to disease outbreak. However, a breeding program by zoos was introduced to salvage the situation.
- The Golden Lion Tamarin that faced the risk of extinction as a result of poaching and habitat destruction was also saved by zoos.
- The Amur Leopard has lost a large percentage of their habitat due to human activities and they are also prone to poaching. However, over 200 of these species have been saved by zoos.
- The Regent Honeyeater is a type of bird that has faced the danger of extinction due to deforestation. Deforestation has led to these species losing their main source of food which is nectar form the eucalyptus tree. However, breeding programs in zoos have restored their populations.
Major zoological gardens in India
- The Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park is a park that is famous for its many reptiles, mammals and bird species.
- The Nandankanan Zoological Park is also a famous garden found in the temple city of Bhubaneswar. It has a large stream of visitors and it’s known for its white tigers, black panthers and gharials.
- The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is known for its red panda, Himalayan wolf and snow leopards.
- The National Zoological Park (Delhi Zoo) is home to a large number of animal and bird species.
- The Amirthi Zoological Park is also famous as a wildlife sanctuary for deer, mongoose, foxes, pythons, etc.
Zoos are very important structures. This is because they have various benefits with the most important being the fact that they have been used to preserve some species of animals from extinction. Those who tour zoos also get to view species of animals that may not be found in the wild.