Conservation. Education. Research. Recreation.
In the modern zoo, conservation of species has become a major goal. Zoos maintain captive breeding populations of threatened and endangered species for potential reintroduction to the wild and manage the gene pools of those captive species. This has become increasingly important as the destruction of the animal’s natural habitats continue.
Educating the public about the need to conserve and protect wildlife is an important component in the conservation of a species. If the visitors leave the zoo without being better informed about wildlife, the zoo has failed in its primary function. This goal can be achieved in a multitude of methods whether it be passive education through interpretive signage and creative bulletin boards or active programs and hands on activities.
Biologists and zoo employees make use of captive populations by studying various animal behaviors, diet needs, veterinary methods, animal pathology and breeding requirements. The greater our knowledge of each species in captivity, the better equipped we are in helping to conserve their wild counterparts.
If visiting a zoo were not entertaining, there would be far few visitors. Because zoos around the world have been successful in making learning nature fun, over 800 million people visit zoos annually. People also enjoy visiting zoos because they can feel “closer to nature” by getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Zoos are an excellent choice for a family outing and good wholesome fun.