Unnatural Habitats Cause Abnormal Behaviors in Wild Animals
A typical day in a zoo consists of little to no time at each exhibit, examining an animal in a small space.Many people believe having animals in captivity is a good idea and a chance for an educational experience. The majority of the public is for zoos and aquariums being open; however, there are a decent amount of people who think the opposite about animals in captivity. During a zoo visit one may see a wild chimp eating his waste or pacing back and forth and believe that it’s his normal behavior without thinking twice about it. In fact, according to the website Zoo Chimps’ Mental Health affected by Captivity “self-mutilation, repetitive rocking, and consumption of feces, are symptoms of compromised mental health in humans, and are not seen in wild chimpanzees.” Often what is seen to be “normal” behavior is overlooked by the public but seriously concerns many researchers.
Zoos and Aquariums are false advertisements to the public. Most exhibits within a zoo or aquarium lack the sufficient space a wild animal such as a tiger or killer whale needs to live. When a person is viewing the exhibit, most of the time the wild animal is presenting unnatural behavior. For example, according to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies’ website, Marine Mammals in Captivity, “Like killer whales, belugas travel hundreds of miles in the wild. Constrained in an aquarium the swim in circular patterns, unable to live and swim naturally.” For lack of money, the insufficient space is likely never to be expanded once the animal is in his exhibit. Even if the zoos or aquariums make an exhibit larger, the space will never be match an animal’s natural environment. Most, if not all captive animals die while in captivity.
Lack of stimulation and foraging behavior are common problems for many zoo animals. These behaviors can cause reintroduction to the wild to be difficult and lead to unhealthy animals. According to Ida Korneliussen in Can Wild animals have mental illness?, the author states “Animals can engage in compulsive actions if they don’t get what they seek and need . . . This is because they cannot escape the cage to look for food.” Animals in captivity that face unusual environments are not able to function as they would out in the wild where they can explore for food and partners. Because the animal’s acclimation to a zoo environment, the captive animals’ lack of natural behavior causes a problem if the animals are ever introduced back out into the wild; the animals’ behavior will differ and the animals would be used to zoo behavior versus wild behaviors.
Once wild animals are captured and arrive at the zoos, they’re trapped in a cage for the rest of their life, just as humans are when they’re sentenced to prison for life. An animal’s exhibit is harmful to the animal’s well being. For example, a killer whale, also known as an Orca is extremely large in size when compared to most captive wild animals. In Marine Mammals in Captivity, the article states that killer whales “live in pods of two to fifty whales and swim up to 100 miles in a day and dive to depths of 500 feet [and that orcas] prefer deep water and usually spend 10 to 20 per cent of their time at the surface.” Animals that live in large tanks of water do not have any room to function normally; the water killer whales reside in is extremely harsh and filled with chemicals that damage marine mammals’ skin. Not only does the water they swim in damage the orca’s skin but there is no way for the marine animal to travel to parts of the ocean to find a mate. Large marine animals in captivity such as orcas swim in a secluded unnatural space where the size is nowhere close to the ocean size. The continuous lack of natural environment in captivity will continue to drive animals to express unusual behaviors inside their exhibits and could also lead to death of the animal.
NEW SOURCE* Korneliussen, Ida. “Can WIld Animals Have Mental Illness?” ScienceNordic. N.p., 24 June 2015. Web. 2 Nov. 2015. <http://sciencenordic.com/can-wild-animals-have-mental-illnesses>.
“CFHS | Marine Mammals in Captivity.” RSS. Canadian Federation of Human Societies, n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2015. <http://cfhs.ca/wild/marine_mammals_in_captivity>.