Recently, Internet shared its fair share of grief over the heartbreaking news of extinction of the Spix’s macaw in the wild, which lasted more than a day. Everyone was aware of the beautiful blue parrots popularised by the Disney’s 2011 animated film ‘Rio’.
According to a new study, Spix’s macaw is one among the eight bird species that are set to become the first bird extinctions to be confirmed this decade. But the extinction is only in the wild. About 60 to 80 of the macaws are still remaining in the captivity. But is it really a relief? Have we really saved the birds? Have we overcome an imminent danger?
The birds may be surviving in the captivity but they are having the time of their life in the zoos. That’s the case with many species. Zoos, aquariums, and other facilities are a big hit among masses. They have become one of the best sources of entertainments with almost every city has at least one of these places.
On the other hand, animal lovers and animal rights activists regard the practice as inhumane and intolerably cruel. They have all the right reasons to do so. Let’s list some of these reasons-
1.The Psychological Pressure
Humans are not the only species who suffer from depression, animals do too. For people fighting with depression, it is always advised to get out of the house and engage in social activities. But when it comes to animals, we throw that notion out of the window.
Wild animals deserves to be in the wild more than humans need to be outside their houses. Due to lack of space and stimulation in captivity, animals develop psychological issues. They start wobbling from side to side, pacing restlessly, they become aggressive and many a time, harm themselves.
Other than inadequate space, zookeepers often, illegally, use mood-enhancing drugs such as Prozac on animals to keep them excited for the audience. The drug also induces depression among animals.
2.The Entertainment Factor
The main purpose of animal captivity is display. The zoos and aquariums are built to make money from the animals. Animals are often forcibly taught to perform in shows. The orcas and dolphins are a big hit with the water shows. People from all over the world gather to see people jumping from the nose of one orca to the nose of another one’s.
The sad reality is that it’s not much fun for animals. It’s basically torture. The orcas and dolphins have evolved to travel long distances in the ocean but in captivity, their domain is limited to a pool of a couple of 100 metres.
3.They are Rarely Released in the Wild
Yes, many species are kept in captivity because they are endangered and need to be protected and they would be released in the wild soon. But practically, it rarely happens.
To release an animal in the wild is more than just opening the shutter of the cage. The animals need to be trained to survive and adapt in the wild, to hunt, to look for habitat and be wary of the predators. These training programmes cost a lot so often people in the facilities skip that part.
Moreover, the real wild animals are not too keen to let outsiders join their group and they refuse to mate with the animals once held in captivity.
So, wouldn’t you agree that animals are better off than their own and we should do more to save their natural habitat rather than trying to save them? A bird can build its own nest if there are enough trees around.
And it’s comparatively cheaper. It is estimated that the annual maintenance cost of keeping a black rhino in captivity is $ 16,800, while that of protecting enough natural habitat to provide for one wild black rhino is just $ 1,000, which is lesser than 16 times.
Spix’s macaw is not alone, Pinta Island tortoise, new guinea singing dog, Kihansi spray toad, Micronesian kingfisher are among some species that are wiped out in the wild and only alive in captivity. Alive but not thriving!
Well, we all agree that ‘I’m just one person what can I do? I’m not cutting down jungles.’ That’s valid but the least we all can do is not support captivity of animals in any form, especially for entertainment.
Hopefully, the animals in the animated film zootopia will not end up just in captivity.
Featured image-Dominikk Lange via Unsplash