The modern zoological park, which is very popular in most large cities worldwide, takes measures to ensure the safety and health of the animals. They create living environments that replicate the animal's natural habitats. Some zoos have exhibits that allow visitors to enter the enclosures of non-aggressive species like turtles, birds, and lizards. Zoos also employ enrichment programs that help animals remain physically and mentally healthy. Healthy diets and excellent veterinarian care are two more ways that zoos protect their animals.
It is sad to say that some species of animals are extinct in the wild. They can only be found in captivity such as a zoological park or wildlife sanctuary. Although these animals can still be found, the fact that they are no longer in their natural habitats means that a link in the ecosystem has been broken. Animals like the Black-footed Ferret and Sahara Oryx can no longer be found in their natural habitats. However, captive breeding programs help keep these animals and others from becoming completely extinct. Some of these programs also reintroduce animals into the wild with the hopes of re-establishing their presence in the ecosystem.
One such zoological park, the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park that is located in Washington DC, encompasses the ideals that these institutions strive to live up to. The zoo's mission is to act has a leader in conserving the earth's animals through animal care, science, education, and sustainability. The zoo, a beautiful wildlife park in an urban setting, offers fun for the whole family, engaging educational programs, and a peaceful way to commune with nature. Other cities with prominent zoos include Chicago (Brookfield and Lincoln Park), New York City (Bronx), Toronto (Metro), San Diego (Balboa Park), and Berlin (Tiergarten). Like the National Zoological Park, these zoos have developed or are developing breeding programs, building animal habitats that simulate those in the wild, and providing educational programs that discuss ecology.
Most of us will never go on an African safari and see lions, elephants, or hippopotamuses in their natural worlds, nor will we trek to the artic to see penguins and polar bears. We may never "go down under" to Australia to hop around with the kangaroos or make our way deep into the rainforests of the Amazon to commune with jaguars, sloths, or macaws. However, visiting a zoological park will capture our imaginations and transport us into the world of animals.