Are zoos really a setting for ecotourism?

September 23, 2013

According to the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, over 700 million people visit zoos each year (WAZA, 2012) and with the growing popularity amongst tourist the debate continues whether it is moral for animals to be kept in zoos, although the primary objective of entertainment has changed to include research, education and conservation.

An area to be looked into is whether zoos are defensible as an ecotourism setting. Latest research by David A. Fennell, Contesting the as a setting for ecotourism, and the design of a published in Journal of Ecotourism, investigates this topic and uses research on three main concerns: conservation – education; welfare; and captivity.

Although we could argue that the is successful with factors such as freedom from hunger, thirst, pain etc, with the failure in animal breading and captivity programmes are zoos achieving ecotourism objectives?

David's research concludes that if we put the welfare of animals over humans' in ecotourism then this will make the step towards a more ethical ecotourism industry.

Explore further: Researchers urge more prominent role for zoos

More information: Fennell, D. Contesting the zoo as a setting for ecotourism, and the design of a first principle, Journal of Ecotourism, Volume 12, Issue 1, 2013. DOI: 10.1080/14724049.2012.737796

Related Stories

Researchers urge more prominent role for zoos

March 17, 2011

Of around seven land vertebrate species whose survival in the wild is threatened one is also kept in captivity. These and other data on the protection of species in zoos and aquaria have now been revealed by scientists at ...

Flamingos need friends too

March 4, 2013

UK scientists are embarking on a four-year study of flamingo behaviour to explore how their relationships could be key to improving breeding success and the overall welfare of captive flocks.

Recommended for you

Study suggests fish can experience 'emotional fever'

November 25, 2015

(—A small team of researchers from the U.K. and Spain has found via lab study that at least one type of fish is capable of experiencing 'emotional fever,' which suggests it may qualify as a sentient being. In their ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.