Does Canada still need zoos and aquaria?
Going to the zoo.
More from this episode:
- 'The Invisibles': Meet the animal photographer who captures living conditions in zoos
- Enclosed habitats can be good for animals: Polar bear expert
It's one of the reasons why so many flock to zoos and aquaria. People want the chance to see a living creature in the flesh. We humans seem especially drawn to exotic species, ones that could never be seen in the Canadian wilderness such as lions, giraffes or increasingly endangered ones, such as whales.
It's why millions trekked to the Toronto Zoo to view some roly-poly royalty.
Two giant pandas on loan from China — Da Mao and Er Shun,and their Canadian born cubs, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue — have wowed nearly six million visitors to the Toronto Zoo since 2013. Their time in Toronto is up though. Very soon, they're headed for the Calgary Zoo, which they'll call home for the next five years before returning to China.
But as the popular pandas ready for their big move, some wonder whether visitor numbers and research are enough to justify animal captivity.
There's growing public unease about the ethics of capturing or breeding animals for entertainment or education. Last month, the Vancouver Aquarium gave up its fight to keep whales and dolphins in captivity, saying the heated public debate was hindering its conservation work.
What is the modern role of zoos and aquaria, and what future they should have?
Most Canadian zoos have done away with cramped, concrete dungeons and embraced a message of conservation. But some activists are against animals in captivity. They argue zoos are outdated, inhumane attractions that should be closed outright.
Our question: Does Canada need zoos and aquaria?
John Rieti, CBC reporter who has been covering the Toronto Zoo
Camille Labchuk, Executive Director of advocacy group Animal Justice and lawyer specializing in animal rights
Susan Shafer, Executive Director of Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquaria (CAZA)
Jo-Anne McArthur, award-winning photojournalist and author of 'Captive' - images from wildlife in zoos around the world
Chantal Barriault, Director, Science Communication Graduate program at the School of the Environment at Laurentian University
- Toronto Zoo hopes losing pandas won't hurt attendance
- What's the future of zoos and aquariums?
- Vancouver Aquarium ends lawsuit that boosted interest in critical documentary
- Vancouver Aquarium will no longer keep whales, dolphins in captivity
- Danish zoo that killed giraffe euthanizes 4 lions
- Giraffe's killing in Copenhagen reveals zoos' dark culling practices
Globe and Mail
- Zoos and circuses: The wrong kind of education about animals
- What happens next for the Toronto Zoo after it says goodbye to the pandas?
- Why bother re-opening Toronto Zoo?
- Toronto Zoo animals getting bored during city's early–winter deep freeze
- Opinion | Linda McQuaig: No more silence about the torture of animals
- Sanctuaries or showbiz: what's the future of zoos?
- Why the world needs zoos
- The world's coldest elephant? Activists demand Lucy's removal from Canadian zoo
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