Costa Rica has the right idea about animals

I was interested that the government of Costa Rica has decided to close all its zoos as part of its program to protect animals. The country banned circuses with animals in 2002. But what will happen to the animals in the zoos? The government plans to return them to the wild, which is not as simple as it sounds.

I do not like zoos or circuses for many reasons but one is the way that animals are kept in captivity. At least with some of the better public zoos where the animals are given lots of room and are treated well, some sort of case can be made for their existence, that they increase awareness in the public of the need to preserve wildlife and their habitats. I do not know though if a causal relationship has been established between visiting zoos and increased support for wildlife .

But there really is no reason why circuses should be allowed to have animals and the sooner that other countries follow Costa Rica’s example and ban them, the better.


  1. says

    I remember the last time I went to a traditional circus. I was watching the elephants and suddenly just got very, very sad for the existence they were leading, and the child I had with me was feeling the same thing. Cirque du Soleil has the right idea, you can have a thrilling, memorable time with just human performers.

    Zoos, it depends on the facilities. I enjoy a good one where the emphasis is on the comfort of the animals first, conservation and rehabilitation seconds, education third, and any entertainment comes from those first three things. Private zoos that just exist to display animals for profit, however, are an abomination.

  2. wtfwhateverd00d says

    I have mixed feelings about closing zoos, in part because for so many in the US, a zoo is the only place to encounter wildlife, and as zoo proponents say, that does raise awareness of the ecology and to protect endangered species.

    Costa Rica is a beautiful country, and it is possible, for tourists at least, to travel around for a week relatively inexpensively and come across in the wild monkeys, parrots, scorpions, and many other wild and “exotic” animals.

    So perhaps zoos in Costa Rica have less importance than zoos in other countries, so long as Costa Rica can protect her wilderness areas.

  3. Anniemouse says

    Even as a very young child, i never enjoyed a circus; it was obvious to me that the animals were miserable. The performers in Cirque Du Soleil, all humans, are capable of leaving if they choose. I’ve only seen Cirque Du Soleil on DVD and that was pretty stunning; I’m sure it’s even better in person.

  4. Mano Singham says

    The fact that we both thought it was noteworthy is an even greater reason for you to write about it!

  5. Henry Gale says

    Zoos say they work to keep species from becoming extinct. Yet, almost no (none as far as I know) animals that are bred in captivity are released back into the wild.

  6. says

    I don’t think that closing the zoo is the best idea. Animals are generally treated extremely good in the zoos, they receive medical care and are feed properly. And the best part about zoos is that it gets people inform about the animals and gets them to see them live, face to face, which grows a little bond between the two. I think that banning zoos will hurt animals more then help them.

  7. keljopy says

    Arabian Oryx, California condor, black-footed ferret, golden lion tamarin, red wolf, Sumatran rhino…however you still have to deal with habitat preservation, genetic bottlenecks, etc.

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