Zoos have always been a debated topic. Many people wonder why animals should be kept in zoos in England. Do zoos do more harm than good? Are zoos humane? Below I will showcase to you why zoos should not be banned. Presenting the pros and cons of zoos which leads to making the best zoos in the UK and best safari parks UK. To know the difference between zoos and safari parks or for the top 10 zoos in the UK scroll to the bottom of the article or select from the contents menu.

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Are Zoos Humane?

Zoos have been around for centuries. This is mostly due to mankind’s curiosity merged with a constant search for knowledge and understanding. We have come along way from the Menageries that throughout the years morphed in the Zoos we know of today. When it comes to questions such as are zoos humane? we have to look at the modern version of zoos people are questioning. We also have to look at the people involved in zoo establishments. Assessing the pros and cons of zoos in England properly.

The best zoos in the UK alongside the best safari parks in the UK will only hire those with veterinary, zoology or biological-based degrees. Or a similar field of study to be able to work with animals.

What is Zoology? – Zoologist Responsibilities

What is Zoology? Zoology is a branch of biology with a specific focus on studies within the animal kingdom. Alongside animal interactions within ecosystems. The Zoology curriculum covers aspects from Cell Biology, Physiology studies, Evolutionary research, Biogeography, Ethology and many more.

Without going into Pros and Cons of Zoos too early. Zoologist responsibilities in the best zoos in the UK, as well as the best safari parks in the UK, are to study the animals in captivity. Manage animal care, movement and enclosures. As well as rehabilitate and release animals back into their natural environment when and where possible. Although Zoologist responsibilities are much more than those listed above. These then to be the basis with day-to-day tasks and activities depending upon the Zoo or Safari Park in the UK

Zoologist Responsibilities - Best Zoos In The UK - Pros and Cons of Zoos

Veterinary scientists and Zoologists understand more than most the importance of protecting animals in captivity. They have extensively studied how to best operate and care for these animals. The Zoo Licensing Act (1981) or Zoos Licensing Regulations (Northern Ireland, 2003). Aims to ensure that, where animals are kept in enclosures, they are provided with a suitable environment to provide an opportunity to express most normal behaviour. It is a Zoologist responsibility in addition to the Zoological establishment to ensure these laws are strictly followed alongside the Animal Welfare Act (2006). All the best zoos in the UK alongside the best safari parks in the UK, listed below are licensed as they follow these strict laws.

So when it comes to the question: Are Zoos Humane? I would say speaking as a Biologist and knowing of my education. Similar to the Zoology curriculum. Zoologists and Veterinary Scientists would strive to ensure not only on the basis of the law these animals are well taken care of. That they would ensure they are aiming to give these animals the best lives possible. Whilst also actively studying them for both environmental and conservational efforts.

So not only are Zoos and Safari Parks in the UK extensively regulated. They would not be able to operate unless they did so ethically. Leading to the next topic of why animals should be kept in zoos in England.

Why Animals Should Be Kept In Zoos?

The best zoos in the UK always have a purpose. These are overwhelmingly positive. With aims to understand the effect humans have had and the devastating decline in biodiversity across many species in the last half-century.

Zoos and Safari Parks in the UK run by societies such as ZSL have implemented education strategies. To inspire, inform and empower people to stop wild animals going extinct. Having a significant impact on the way people interact with wildlife. On the identification and treatment of wildlife health issues. As well as the survival prospects of some of the most critically endangered species.

Although Zoos in England are mainly viewed as tourist attractions. One of the main purposes of the best zoos in the UK is Ex-situ conservation. This literally means “off-site conservation”. It is the process of protecting an endangered species or animal outside its natural habitat. This also heavily involves breeding and reintroduction into the wild when necessary and possible.

Baby Elephant Walking With Family - Zoos In England - Pros and Cons of Zoos

Endangered Earth

Humanity is at a tipping point. We’re rapidly growing, all-consuming and polluting at the same time. This has caused detrimental effects on our environment and the habitats of millions of animals worldwide.

Currently, according to the IUCN, More than 28,000 species are threatened with extinction. That is 27% of all assessed species.

  • 40% of Amphibians
  • 30% of Sharks and Rays
  • 27% of Crustaceans
  • 25% of Mammals
  • 14% of Birds

Animals should be kept in zoos because the best zoos in England hold animals in captivity for scientific purposes above all else. By safely housing animals, zoologists can conduct scientific research to help understand a variety of factors. Studies are continually carried out from zoos in England. From investigating the relationship between wildlife and local communities. Ranging from nomadic pastoralist systems in Africa. To identify the diseases which threaten wildlife conservation and explore ways to mitigate them. Including disease risk analysis for wildlife reintroduction.

Zoo Research carried out by ZSL London one of the best zoos in England. Improved connectivity and protection across four large landscapes (encompassing 11 countries). Which led to the development of three regional conservation strategies and 18 National Conservation Action Plans. For cheetah and African wild dogs. Which also informed international policy. ZSL Zoo Research led to a ban on the use of diclofenac on the Indian subcontinent. Which was the cause of a catastrophic decline (approximately 30–50% per year) of Gyps vultures in South Asia.

Animals should be kept in zoos because the best zoos in England have facilities that provide not only housing and care for specimens of endangered species but also these zoos have high educational benefits. They inform the public of the threatened status of endangered species and of those factors which cause the threat. With the hope of creating public interest in stopping and reversing those factors which jeopardize a species’ survival in the first place.

Deforestation Scene - Best Zoos In UK - Pros and Cons of Zoos

Pros and Cons of Zoos in the UK?

When it comes to the pros and cons of the Best Zoos in the UK i.e. the positive and negatives factors, there are many reasonings that can be evaluated. Not every zoo in England is great, however, there is a base standard all zoos operating in the UK have to follow. Factors such as operating law vary from country to country.

Pros of Zoos:

Pro of Zoo 1: Zoos in the UK provide an educational experience for the public concerning animals and conservation efforts.

According to a study of 26 zoos worldwide published in Conservation Biology, visitors to zoos increased their knowledge of biodiversity and specific individual actions to protect biodiversity.

Pro of Zoo 2: Zoos in the UK are able to conduct levels of scientific research not possible without animals in captivity.

228 accredited zoos published 5,175 peer-reviewed manuscripts between 1993 and 2013. In 2017, 173 accredited US zoos spent $25 million on research, studied 485 species and subspecies of animals, worked on 1,280 research projects, and published 170 research manuscripts.

Pro of Zoo 3: Zoos in the UK actively save endangered species from extinction alongside other habitat issues.

Zoos are also working to save polar bears, tigers, and wild African elephants from habitat loss, apes and rhinos from poachers, dolphins and whales from hunters, and bees and butterflies from population decline, among many other efforts to help many other animals.

Polar Bear In Zoo - Best Zoos In The UK - Pros and Cons of Zoos

Cons of Zoos:

Con of Zoo 1: Zoo confinements can be psychologically damaging to some animals.

Animal behaviourists have been known to see zoo animals suffering from problems not seen in the wild. Such as clinical depression in clouded leopards and gibbons. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in brown bears, and anxiety in giraffes.

Con of Zoo 2: Zoos lacking in facilities may not be educating the public enough to justify the animals they have in captivity.

A review published in Animal Studies Repository concluded, “to date, there is no compelling or even particularly suggestive evidence for the claim that zoos and aquariums promote attitude change, education, and interest in conservation in visitors.”

Con of Zoo 3: Zoos lacking in facilities can be detrimental to certain animals physical health.

A study of 35 species of carnivores. Including brown bears, cheetahs, and lions found that zoo enclosures were too small for the animals to carry out their normal routines. This led to problems such as pacing and more infant deaths.

Pros and Cons of Zoos – My Opinion

Alongside those mentioned above, they’re many other pros and cons of Zoos. As originally mentioned establishment criteria vary from country to country. Therefore as result pros and cons of zoos vary respectively.

When it comes to factors like zoo education. I often see this as an additional benefit of the fact animals are kept ex-situ for research purposes. Often when people think of zoos, they look at them as a primary benefit for humans or as a form of entertainment. Although conceptually founded as menageries. Zoos in England have developed to much more than that.

Zoologists and scientists alike have been able to save, research and rehabilitate hundreds of species of animals thanks to Zoos in England. Therefore when I consider their pros and cons. The pros of zoos and the benefits they provide to the animal kingdom conservation outweigh the cons. Especially when considering the damage humanity has done to the climate and the habitat of these animals. Zoos in England allow for extensive research to combat, protect and enhance the habitat and lives of wild animals.

Setting aside the pros and cons of Zoos. Zoos are around and they’re here to stay. It’s great to hear that the best zoos in the UK are working towards achieving a demonstrable improvement in the conservation status of priority species. Zoos in the UK want to see an improvement in conservation outcomes for EDGE-listed threatened species. Whilst working alongside organisations involved in species recovery programmes. Conservation innovators and Local partners including government, non‑government and private sector organisations.

Why Zoos Should Not Be Banned.

As explained above when it comes to questions such as why zoos should be banned or why zoos should not be banned. This really depends on how you would view the benefit Zoos provide to the animal kingdom rather than that of society.

Mentioned just prior I definitely feel Zoos in the UK Should Not Be Banned. Based on factors such as the benefits they provide not only to the scientific community but the strides they make in animal conservation and research.

CO2 Protest Sign - Zoos In England - Pros and Cons of Zoos

However, there is always room for improvement. By not banning Zoos it leads us to question on their secondary factor. The future of zoos in England as a credible educational institute. Now, this is really dependent on the successful implementation of animal management. The presence of visitors can influence the behaviour of animals in living exhibit space. Visitors have varied expectations when coming to zoos shaped by our ever-changing values and perceptions of animals and conservation. If this experience consists of ‘empty’ exhibits due to reduced visibility of animals or exhibits displaying animals that appear stressed or uncomfortable. Visitors take back a negative message meaning the zoo has lost its opportunity to promote changes (Kleiman, 1996).

Zoos should not be banned because the general mission is to conserve natural habitats and wildlife, by changing the attitudes of their visitors. Motivating them to think and act about promoting conservation.

This secondary factor of education plays a greater role in conservation as well as captive propagation. Educating and motivating humans may be the best method of contributing to conservation (Norton, 2010). Something I believe by keeping zoos open and continually improving on educational outlets. Can contribute to the successful progression of animal and wildlife conservation.

Zoos and Safari Parks In The UK

There are not many differences between Zoos and Safari parks in the UK. One of the factors that set apart Zoos and Safari Parks is the way the animals kept in captivity. Zoos are often found in cities whilst safari parks or wildlife parks are located in more open space regions. Most often in Zoos, the majority of animals are kept in enclosures that are replicative of their traditional environments. With Safari parks the majority animals are given larger amounts (often acres) of free space to roam with very little alternative landscaping. Zoos and Safari parks in the UK also differ with the type of animals kept.

With Zoos and Safari parks in the UK, all animals are held in captivity. If you want to see wild animals in the UK [Click Here].

Top 10 Zoos In UK

You’ll never be able to escape the pros and cons of zoos. Although when it comes to the Top 10 Zoos in the UK, I have arranged for you what I believe to be the best zoos and safari parks in the UK based on customer experience.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

#1 – Best Zoo In the UK

Sourced Image: ZSL Whipsnade

Number 1 of the Top 10 Zoos In The UK we have The UK’s largest Zoo ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Set in 600 acres of panoramic scenery. ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is packed full of wonder and amazement, with over 3,500 animals to meet and thousands more surprising and fascinating facts just waiting to be discovered. Find yourself face to face with the world’s tallest mammals at Giraffe Heights, and get unforgettable views of African lions in their natural habitat at the Lions of The Serengeti. Your visit will help support their conservation work in over 50 countries around the world. Where really great days out can make a really positive difference to the wildlife we work to protect. Enjoy a really great day out that makes a real difference.

Tripadvisor Review: 4.5 (3,154 Reviews)

Chester Zoo

#2 – Top 10 Zoos In UK

Sourced Image: Chester Zoo

The UK’s number one charity zoo, and number two on our list we have Chester Zoo. With over 21,000 animals and 500 different species, including some of the most endangered species on the planet. With 1.9 million visitors every year, the zoo is an all-year-round, full-day visitor attraction for everyone. Open daily from 10 am, except for Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Car parking is free and on-site. Facilities for disabled visitors, including self-drive electric scooters and wheelchairs.

Tripadvisor Review: 4.5 (14,243)

Edinburgh Zoo

#3 – Top 10 Zoos In UK

Sourced Image: Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo is set in 82 acres of sloping parkland and is situated at number three in our list. Just three miles to the west of Edinburgh city centre It is home to over 1,000 rare and endangered animals. Including chimpanzees, sun bears, Indian Rhinos, the UK’s only koalas and the first Giant Pandas in the UK for 17 years. You can experience a busy programme of educational events and activities from the keeper talks to hands-on animal encounters. There is also a wide-range of eating experiences, several play areas and a fantastic gift shop. Viewing for the Giant Pandas is currently free flow and booking is not required.

Tripadvisor: 4.0 (8,088)

Colchester Zoo

#4 – Top 10 Zoos In UK

Sourced Image: Colchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo at number 4 of the Top 10 Zoos In The UK. Is constantly developing and has won many awards for its work. With over 270 species to see, set in 60 acres of beautiful parkland and lakes. As you walk around the zoo there’s plenty of play areas to try out including the indoor soft play area Jungle Tumble with a section for under 3s and all new play equipment. New enclosures include a walk through the enclosure with butterflies and another with Rainbow Lorikeets offering visitors a chance to feed them a treat of nectar. Plus there’s ‘Bears of the Rising Sun’, a state of the art enclosure which houses two beautiful sun bears, Jo Jo and Srey Ya. You can also come face to face with Komodo Dragons, see white rhino, giraffes, ostrich and kudu roaming together at Kingdom of the Wild and walk underwater through the 24m tunnel at the Playa Patagonia sea lion pool!

Tripadvisor: 4.5 (5,417)

Paignton Zoo & Environmental Park

#5 – Top 10 Zoos In UK

Sourced Image: Tripadvisor

Number 5 of the Top 10 Zoos In The UK is Paignton Zoo Environmental Park. A conservation and education charity located in South Devon. With around 2,500 animals across 80 acres, they have more species than anyone else in the South West. These include lions, tigers, giraffes, crocodiles, rhinos, lemurs, flamingos, meerkats, orang-utans and Komodo dragon! They also have indoor and outdoor play areas, the Jungle Express train, a seasonal bird show and numerous food and drink outlets. Paignton Zoo is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).

Tripadvisor: 4.5 (4,745)

ZSL London Zoo

#6 – Top 10 Zoos In UK

Sourced Image: ZSL London Zoo

At number 6 of the Top 10 Zoos In The UK, we have ZSL London Zoo. Packed full of wonder and amazement, with over 650 species of animals to meet and thousands more surprising and fascinating facts just waiting to be discovered. Find yourself face-to-face with their Asiatic lions and their friendly giraffes whilst they enjoy a spot of lunch. Wander through their Madagascan shrub forest and see how many of their ring-tailed lemurs you can spot.

Tripadvisor Review: 4.0 (6,742)

Bristol Zoo Gardens

#7- Top 10 Zoos In UK

Sourced Image: Bristol Zoo

Bristol Zoo Gardens finds its way in at number 7 of the Top 10 Zoos In The UK. An adventure into an exciting animal kingdom, all set within 12 acres of beautiful gardens. Get up close to more than 400 species of exotic, endangered and adorable animals from the four corners of the globe, whilst enjoying 12 acres of award-winning gardens. With nine undercover animal houses, Bristol Zoo is a wonderful, all-weather family attraction. You can see the amazing gorilla family in the unique 180-degree view gorilla house, venture into Twilight World to discover animal secrets after sunset and come face-to-face with their incredible reptiles in their Reptile house.

Tripadvisor Review: 4.0 (3,642)

Marwell Zoo

#8 – Top 10 Zoos In UK

Sourced Image: Marwell Zoo

Their 140-acre park is home to an incredible range of exotic and endangered species, in beautiful, landscaped surroundings. Marwell Zoo is Number 8 of the Top 10 Zoos In The UK. Just by visiting Marwell Zoo (owned and operated by conservation charity, Marwell Wildlife) you’ll be making a big contribution to their projects to conserve species and habitats, both in Hampshire and around the world. Their new Tropical House opened in 2018 and is the largest exhibit ever built at Marwell. Spanning two levels with fantastic vantage points, guests can experience face-to-face encounters with a diversity of wildlife and exotic plants in a tropical climate, while learning about the flow of energy through life.

Tripadvisor Review: 4.0 (2,774)

Yorkshire Wildlife Park

#9 – Top 10 Zoos In UK

The Yorkshire Wildlife Park making its way in at Number 9 of the Top 10 Zoos In The UK. Expereince a unique walk-through wildlife park located just outside Doncaster, South Yorkshire. YWP brings families in touch with some of the world’s most beautiful and at-risk species inc Polar Bears, Black Rhino, Lions, Tigers and Giraffes plus around 400 other animals including 70 different species! Yorkshire Wildlife Park is a fantastic place to experience a truly breathtaking walkthrough wildlife adventure! Kids can enjoy their many indoor and outdoor adventure play zones and adults can relax in their themed dining outlets.

Tripadvisor Review: 4.5 (7,268)

Cotswold Wildlife Park

#10 – Top 10 Zoos In UK

Sourced Image: Cotswold Wildlife Park

Last but definitely not least at Number 10 of the Top 10 Zoos In The UK we have Cotswold Wildlife Park. Stroll around the Park discovering over 260 different animal species in 160 acres of beautiful parkland and stunning gardens. Get eye-to-eye with Giraffe, walk with Lemurs in their Madagascar exhibit and watch Zebras and Rhinos graze in front of the Gothic listed Manor House. Take a ride on Bella the Train around the Park or let the kids explore the adventure playground. Have lunch in their restaurant or picnic in their spacious lawns. Pet the goats in the Farmyard or watch the Penguins being fed (daily at 11am & 3pm). If you’re brave take a peek in their Reptile house with Crocodiles, venomous snakes and lizards or watch the bats flying around in the Bat house or see the creepy crawlies in the Insect House.

Tripadvisor Review: 4.5 (3,535)

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