Many of us have fond memories of visiting the zoo as a child (or at any age), and more than a few of us probably credit those visits with turning us into animal lovers. So how should we square those warm, fuzzy feelings with research that shows the psychological harms of captivity for some animals?
That’s what Vox subscriber Gaurav Patil wanted to know, so producer Liz Scheltens started digging in. One way that zoos maintain their social license to operate despite our growing understanding of the harms to certain species is by marketing themselves as beacons of conservation.
Proponents argue that not only do zoos help preserve endangered wild populations, they also help make humans better conservationists. But when you look at the research, a different picture starts to emerge.
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