Can You Adopt a Wild Animal?

The first zoo was created in Egypt in 1500 BC, when its main purpose was not only to entertain people but most importantly, to educate them about the unknown species of animals found in the wild. Nowadays, it’s purely for entertainment purposes and it’s very clear that most of the animals living in zoos are not happy. But can you adopt a wild animal the way you would do it with a stray animal? The answer is not that simple. Read more below to find out.

Where do Zoos get the wild animals from?

How do wild animals end up in captivity? Well, there’s a well known myth surrounding the idea the zoo animals are stolen from the wild, only for breeding purposes. While there’s no such thing as a good Zoo, the truth is a lot of work and planning goes into bringing animals to the Zoo, contrary to popular belief.

However, it’s important to learn how to distinguish between accredited and unaccredited zoos if you want to find out how zoo animals get wild animals.

Accredited vs. Unaccredited zoos

In the United States, AZA, which is the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, can grant accreditation to zoos and aquariums that meet the specific standards and health and safety procedures. In England there is BIAZA (British & Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria), while EAZA is the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums that has a set of standards for zoos and aquariums to adhere to if they want to become accredited.

Both accredited and unaccredited zoos get the animals from captive breeding programs where the animals were once captured and forced to live in an enclosed space for the entertainment of people. The animals have never been exposed to their natural habitat as they were bred generation after generation, specifically for this purpose. Zoos will often continue breeding animals because baby animals will attract more visitors and thus generate more revenue.

Do wild animals belong in captivity?

One of the main arguments of some zoos is that they want to preserve endangered species. The truth is there are plenty of cases where an entire species’ population is so low and as a result it cannot sustain itself in the wild.

As soon as the populations begins to rebound, the animals that are considered to be ‘healthy’ are released back to the wild. However, there have been cases where instead of releasing the animals back to the wild, they were sent to abusive circuses or ended up as being part of another zoo or exotic pet trade where the animals are exploited and abused.

Are sanctuaries different from zoos?

Sanctuaries are quite different from zoos or park safaris, because opposite to zoos that over-bred animals, sanctuaries rescue animals that will not survive in the wild on their own.

Most of the rescue animals that live in sanctuaries come from zoos, circuses or illegal pet trades. Another main difference between zoos and sanctuaries is that in sanctuaries, animals are not bought, sold or captured from the wild.

A vast majority of sanctuaries are operated by non-profit organizations that will often request a small donation from visitors.

Can you adopt a wild animal to support sanctuaries and charities

Other than donating, visitors can support conservation efforts by adopting an animal. For a small fee a month, you can become the “adoptive parent” of an orangutan, polar bear, penguin or elephant.

While the adoption itself is just symbolic, any donation or fee paid for one of the adoption programs can help to save some of the world’s most endangered species.

These organisations that offer symbolic adoption programs want to maintain a good quality habitat for the endangered species as well as providing the food and other needs.

Some organisations also work alongside wildlife trade monitoring networks and governments to detect and further investigate illegal trade of the animals so that the demand in illegal wildlife products no longer represents a threat.

Now that you found out if you can adopt a wild animal and what this means, your efforts will help protect and save the world’s most endangered species from extinction.

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