One of the biggest issues in the modern world is that of animal rights. Animal rights have always been an issue but today people are more aware of the problems and willing to do more to solve it. Documentaries like Blackfish and The Cove have highlighted the importance of the relationship between man and nature and highlighted how even when organizations appear to be looking after animals, it is often not the case. Recently we looked into the care of giant pandas around the world to examine if they are being properly looked after.
Today there are numerous zoos across the world with giant pandas. Outside of China, there are now almost 30 zoos in over 20 countries that host giant pandas. The majority of pandas are on loan from China in an effort to support the reproduction of the giant panda. These incredible animals are often the highlight of any zoo and as they are still vulnerable (although no longer endangered), it is important that any money raised is used to promote their conservation and to ensure they are well looked after.
Examining the enclosures in each zoo it appears that in most cases they are very well looked after. In Scotland there are two pandas, their enclosure cost almost $300,000 to build with organic food being flown in from central Europe. In Singapore, a biodome was built to house the pandas on a 10-year loan. However, the facilities in China have faced allegations although to date have not been found guilty. One panda died at the age of 7 in a Chinese zoo and torture allegations were made.
The loaning of pandas to international zoos as a way to raise money for conservation efforts is one example of how animal enclosures can be used for good. While animals should generally be left in their natural habitat, rescue animals are sometimes unable to return to the wild and the funds raised can be used to help many other animals. As consumers, it is our job to ensure that the facilities we visit are caring for animals and not simply making a profit from them. Enquire with your local zoo what they do for animal conservation.