The topic of zoos can be very controversial due to the variety of perspectives and the wide range in quality of zoos that exist today. While there are some unethical and harmful zoos, not all zoos are bad. With a little research, we can determine what makes a good zoo and how to support them.
It can be hard to tell if a zoo is ethical or not. Here in the US, the Association of Zoos and and Aquariums (AZA) will accredit institutions based on reviews and inspections to ensure they meet certain standards.
Find out which zoos near you are accredited:
Another way to asses the legitimacy of a zoo is to look on its website. Some key things to look at would be the zoo's mission statement and if they are a nonprofit. Their programs should be outlined on the website, and if they are a nonprofit then these programs should benefit the animals, the community, and education. You could also contact the zoo and ask about their educational opportunities and programs. This week try to find one zoo in your area that is a nonprofit or whos values align with your own.
There are many was that we can support zoos like
making a donation to an AZA accredited zoo or aquarium
become a zoo or aquarium member
visit the zoo or aquarium (in person or virtually)
watch an educational video on their website
watch a live webcam of animal on the zoo or aquarium website
Try to pick one way to support an ethical zoo or aquarium
While there are many ethical and nonprofit zoos and aquariums that are actively fighting to help animals, there are still institutions that are harmful. This is why it is important to spread awareness about this subject, praise institutions that are helpful and point out institutions that could be doing better so we can help improve them. Try to share one piece of information that you learned about zoos or aquariums. This could be through social media, talking to a friend or family member, or another way of your choice!
Tag us in your posts @dearearthteam when participating in the challenges!