There are some things in our society that are so archaic that it’s impossible for many not to wonder – why does this still even exist? This is exactly what happened recently in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, when Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta announced that the city’s zoo (which has been open for 140 years) is closing! According to the Washington Post, most of the 1,500 animals from the zoo will be relocated to Argentinian sanctuaries and to locations overseas. Some of the birds will be released in a riverside ecological reserve spanning 864 acres in the city. And better yet, the location of the zoo won’t just become a barren land as so many other zoos do. Far from it actually, there is already an amazing plan set to transform the facility into an ecological park!

So, why has the Buenos Aires mayor had a change of heart? Simple. He no longer condoned the apparent suffering that animals experience in zoos. “This situation of captivity is degrading for the animals, it’s not the way to take care of them,” he said Thursday, the Guardian reported.

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The mayor is right about that one. Zoos are no place for animals. In captivity, animals are subjected to just a mere fraction of the space they would have in the wild. They are stripped of their natural instincts to hunt, roam, and simply enjoy nature’s beauty, and are instead subject to a pathetically small, concrete enclosure. And the frustration animals in zoos feel is palpable. They suffer from boredom, show clear signs of depression, and sometimes reach such a level of misery that they attempt suicide. Despite the fact that many people consider zoos to be “educational” for children and adults or a “conservation effort” that benefits species, enough research has been done to prove that this is simply not true.

Just look at this polar bear at the Buenos Aires zoo, who was given an ice “Christmas tree” covered with fruits and veggies. Normally these animals would have the thrill of hunting in the wild for their food. This display is more for visitors than anything.

Buenos Aires Polar Bear

This rhino also reveals the sad truth about our society. Some people may think we are helping this endangered species. In reality, we are simply punishing this creature to a life of isolation because WE have decimated the rest of his peers. 

Buenos Aires Rhino

 

 

We could not be happier that the Mayor of Buenos Aires has finally realized enough is enough! As a society, making mistakes is unavoidable. There are many practices that we deemed acceptable in the past that no longer are, and we are certain that many of our current actions will be frowned upon in the future. That’s just life. The important part is that we make sure that we do eventually evolve. We must always be able to truly reflect on our actions as a species and deduce whether we are in fact making a positive impact on our planet. Shutting down zoos and realizing that keeping animals in this manner is cruel and unnecessary is definitely a step in the right direction. We must continue this trend if we want to create a future that is truly better for the generations to come. 

All Images Source: The Washington Post