Freeing Captive Animals, Closing Zoos & Problems at Sea World

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You may or may not have heard that the Costa Rican Environmental Ministry (MINAE) announced in 2013 that it was going to close its two government-run zoos and set the animals free that were contained therein. The decision to close the Santa Ana Conservation and the Simon Bolivar Zoo stemmed from public outcry that denounced the dismal living conditions and cramped confinements of the inhabitants. If completed, this country known for its aggressive environmental activism would have been the first in the world to shut down its zoos and create biological centers of education that are cage-free.
However, the announcement caused an outcry of its own by those who administer finances and care to the various forms of wildlife reserved in its zoo facilities. FUNDAZOO, the nonprofit organization that administers the two zoos in Costa Rica, retaliated by suing the Ministry. They claimed a “breach of contract” technical violation as the reason since they were supposed to receive a year’s notice before the cancellation of their contract, which the group says was not fulfilled. The court that heard the case agreed with FUNDAZOO and allowed an automatic 10-year renewal of their contract that is good until 2024. This was actually the second time that MINAE tried to shut down the zoos with a previous attempt being made in 2003 and encountered the same results for the same reason. The Ministry has vowed to pursue its goal of closing its zoos.
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Zoos Are Big Business
Although Costa Rica’s two government-run zoos will remain in operation until at least 2024 under the court ruling, the ordeal has helped to spark a worldwide movement addressing the captivity of animals in zoos and similar facilities. Environmental consciousness is expanding and more people are becoming educated toward the often horrid conditions of encaged animals. In the case of Costa Rica, enough people rose up to decry such treatment of animals which included cramped, dirty pens and display areas.
However, there is another big problem associated with zoos that is causing their reputations to be tarnished. As with so many other areas in today’s society, zoos have become big business where the name of the game is making money and not necessarily promoting the best interest of animals. A shift has been occurring away from the goal of simply caring for and displaying animals to one of making grand facilities that are designed to attract large numbers of people. You might think that such expansions are good for the animals, but in many cases it is not. Administrators are moving further away from practical, healthy zoology methods in order to boost revenues.
You can see more of this article in our November 2015 Adult issue of ModelsMania

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