On Tuesday we had a lecture in Edinburgh ZOO with my course “Action for Biodiversity”. Or probably I should not call it a lecture as it was more like an excursion. One of the employees gave us very nice insights into the lives of animals in the context of biodiversity losses and conservation.
It was really rewarding experience for me because I had an opportunity to see ZOO from another perspective. We were told how much ZOO does to conserve some species, they do valuable research to find out more about the animals and cooperate with several other ZOOs in order to protect the species and breed them in captivity. After this visit I realised that ZOOs are really important part of conservation and protection of animals and even though some people may think that ZOOs are bad for animals, I know that it is a complete opposite. I found out that some species are of high conservation importance due to only small number of species left in nature and ZOO strives to do many actions to help those and on the other hand, some species are not endangered, however, attract many visitors to ZOO. For example, Visayan warty pigs are not really species that you would go to the ZOO to see but they are critically endangered, while penguins are relatively cheap to keep and present a great visitors attraction. Also, they do research with monkeys to find out more about them, but they do not force them. Monkeys can easily choose to participate in the research as the door to the lab is always open but monkeys know that they will get some treats afterward so they are motivated to stay. Clever solution.
I am really grateful that I could get these insights and know more about what ZOOs strive to achieve and how.