How Zoos Help Protect Birds
It may seem contrary to consider captive birds helpful wild bird conservation, but in fact zoos, aviaries and other captive facilities can be very beneficial both to exotic wild birds as well as local wild bird populations. Birders who understand what zoos do to help local and worldwide avifauna can then opt to support zoos and help promote bird conservation.
Zoos, also called zoological parks, bioparks or menageries, are controlled habitats where animals are held captive and displayed. The oldest zoo was believed to be an exotic menagerie exhibit in Egypt that operated in approximately 3500 BC, and other ancient zoos have been documented in China, Greece and Europe. Many older zoos were often criticized for gross violations of animal rights, including inappropriate and too small enclosures, poor care and cruel treatment of the animals. Modern zoos, however, pride themselves on providing accurate representations of animals’ habitats and caring for their animals in humane and ethical ways.
Today, there are more than 1,000 zoos around the world, and while their size, quality and dedication to conservation can vary, many of them are important facilities for preserving wildlife diversity, including birds. In addition to zoos, bird conservation is also a part of many aviaries, marine life parks, botanical gardens and similar facilities.
How Zoos Help Wild Bird Conservation
Just keeping birds captive and displaying them for the public does not provide a great deal of benefit to bird conservation, but zoos do much more than that. Different ways zoos protect and preserve birds include…