Forcing Animals for Human Entertainment Forcing wild animals to perform for the sake of human entertainment has caused numerous unnecessary injuries and deaths to both humans and animals alike. Have you been to the zoo and watched the monkeys running in circles? Or a bear just sleeping forever? What about that gorilla that stared at you with that bored and sad look ? These are typical scenes from zoos where captive animals are receiving essential care, but not much to enrich their psychological well-being. In order to somewhat justify the keeping of these animals for our entertainment and education, we must improve the conditions of these captive species. This can be done by removing animals from cages and other small enclosures, designing more open-spaced, natural looking exhibits, and by making environmental enrichment mandatory for all animals. Even though we would like to remove the concept of captive wildlife, in the meanwhile it is a reality.
Increasing species-specific behavioral opportunities for captive animals in not a new idea,but became recently very important especially in regard to endangered species. As the human species continues to destroy habitats and burn whole ecosystems, many animal species become endangered or threatened. The zoos of today, in themselves a controversial issue, cannot afford to claim more animals from the wild and must rely on breeding endangered species themselves. The role of the zoos has been somewhat reversed since they are now often reproducing endangered species in order to return them into the wild. The effects of rich versus barren environments for captive animals have been the focus of several studies, which all seem to show that environmental enrichment reduces stationary, repetitive, abnormal and neurotic behaviors, as well as stress-related diseases, while it increases natural species-specific behaviors, social interactions, and active behaviors.
By providing enrichment and prolonging the longevity of captive animals, we actually prevent more animals to be taken from the wild. Every animal needs different enrichment, individually adapted to their behavioral characteristics, which can be.