Future challenges

Today, many animals and their habitats are threatened with extinction. Most zoos use naturalistic habitats and put animal welfare and conservation at the top of their duties. Ironically, captivity is the only hope for the survival in the wild of an always increasing number of species. Due to this responsibility accepted by zoos today, the famous author, naturalist, and zoo builder Gerald Durrell described them as "stationary arks." If the stationary ark is to remain in place, zoos must continue to produce results in preserving the welfare of captive and wild animal populations. Much of this work cannot be done within the perimeter gates of a zoo. Zoos must house and store healthy animal populations, and they must also give visitors instruction and direction on the mission so it will expand and move beyond the gates. Staff must also be active in worldwide field missions to teach conservation messages. A zoo must also be able to compete and have their voice heard in the global political arena. Ironically, if zoos are successful enough, there will be no need for them.

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