Born Free USA Blog
by Adam M Roberts,
Chief Executive Officer
When it comes to animals, Adam Roberts not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk. Since beginning his animal advocacy career in Washington, D.C. in 1991, Adam's ambition, tireless involvement, and profound knowledge of conservation and wildlife issues have cemented him as a go-to voice for protecting animals — and he has elevated Born Free USA to the respected and impactful organization that we know today. Adam's compassionate, informed, and forward-thinking blogs will surely motivate you to join us in our fight to Keep Wildlife in the Wild.
What is the point of the animals being in the zoo in the first place?
Few ever get returned to the wild. Studies show that visitors gain little by way of education benefit. Urgent field conservation suffers as funds are consumed by captive facilities. (For example, there are plans for a $50m elephant house at the Denver Zoo — more than the entire conservation budgets for many African nations combined.)
Steve Feldman, spokesman for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, asserts that “there’s no idyllic wild state,” for animals. And he is right. The wild is not idyllic — it’s natural. It’s where animals evolved to be and zoos are no substitute.
Of course, we should do what we can to make the “cradle to grave care” (or lifetime incarceration) of wild animals as free from suffering as possible, but we should never delude ourselves that we are doing is anything more than tinkering with the lives of wild animals for our passing amusement — something to do of an afternoon.
Now if we really cared, if we wanted real conservation, we’d invest our time, effort, and resources protecting and nurturing the world’s wild ecosystems on which life on Earth — including human life — depends.
Zoos, even those few that try to care, are no more than living museums displaying a handful of human-selected living works of art. If we’re not careful, soon that’s all we’ll have.