Wildlife has always been a part of the human life. Wild animals evolved in their behavior and adapted to the different environments in order to survive. However, there are many social and natural reasons that explain why wild animals are important in the community. One of the natural reasons for having animals is the biological and ecological functions that they undergo. Functioning of the biosphere depends on the interaction between different animals that live on land, water or air. Ecologically, animals help in the processes of nutrient cycling, predation, maintenance of habitat, waste breakdown and soil generation. Animals also provide a source of attraction and beauty as people take up activities such as canoeing, wildlife photography and simply sightseeing of the animal habitats. The result is a generation of income as people have to pay a small fee to view these animals to support their maintenance (Festa-Bianchet and Apollonio 4). Animals live in different habitats such as in zoos, in the wildlife or at people’s homes as pets. These different localities impact the lives of animals differently. There are similarities and differences in the ways of lives of animals living either in zoos, in the wildlife or as pets at homes.
Some of the similarities of keeping animals in zoos, as pets or in the wildlife include: all these three habitats provide animals with a safe place where they can stay for nutrition and procreation without any dangers. It is important to maintain and conserve animal habitats to ensure that they do not extinct in the nearest future. As part of a food chain, animals rely on the environment for their survival. For example, animals that live in water such as dolphins, sharks or fish need water for their survival. Therefore, if any animal lives either in the wild, in a zoo or as a pet at home, it is important to provide it with the necessary environment for its survival.
Protection of the environment is important in all these three habitats in order to ensure that the ecological processes are maintained. For example, animals such as antelopes and gazelles need green vegetation for their nutrition. Lions, cheetahs, panthers and other forms of carnivore animals need to feed on these antelopes and gazelles. Therefore, all wild animals need to have their basic needs provided, and these three habitats assist in the provision of these needs. Animals in the zoos, the wild and family homes also undergo breeding programs as a way of protection (Kleiman, Thompson and Baer 4). In the wild, breeding occurs without any assistance from the environment protection agencies. However, in a controlled environment such as a zoo, officials have to ensure that there is a male and female for each species kept in a zoo for breeding purposes. It is also sensible to find people with pets at homes owning two pets of the same species where one is male, and the other is female. This is an objective in order to try and help in ensuring that these pet animals do not extinct in the future.
However, animals from these three habitats also undergo different conditions that impact their lives. The following chart shows the many differences found in animals living in a zoo, the wild and at home.
|Animals in the wild||Animals in zoos||Animals as pets|
|Animals have strong instincts to keep on migrating and moving. The vastness of the wild environment enables these animals in their big groups or family units to roam in different regions for different purposes.||This is a controlled environment where animals cannot freely roam in the environment. Animals in the zoos are forced to live in artificial social units and are in many cases separated when the need arises.||In most cases, pet animals are not kept in large numbers. The pet animals mostly socialize with human beings instead of their species. They also lack the freedom to roam around the environment.|
|Here, animals manage to adapt and evolve as the environment changes. This means that despite the food chain, different wild animals live and coexist peacefully.||Here, animals live chaotic lives due to the disturbance caused by human beings. Zoos serve the purpose of exhibiting animals to people who pay a small fee to view them. Zoo animals are shifted from one location to another and are forced to keep on adapting to new environments. The loneliness they face means that some of them do not live long.||Pet animals may also feel lonely as they are invented as social animals. They are supposed to live in their family units to survive the harsh conditions of the environment. A pet animal may also have a lower life span as it does not go through the natural process of a wild animal.|
|Animals in the wild have freedom to roam around. It helps in meeting the basic needs such as food and water.||Animals in the zoos often suffer from abuse while in captivity. They are starved, beaten and abused by their keepers. Some of them live in unbearable conditions that cause a lot of harm to them. This means that they die too early.||Pet owners keep pet animals in order to domesticate them. They, therefore, may alter their diet and feed them inappropriate food. Pet animals depend on their owners for their social, behavioral, psychological and nutritional needs. They take whatever is provided to them.|
|Animals in the wild are free and so breed without limits. Such freedom increases the population of the animals and thus helps avoiding extinction.||In a controlled environment, animals breed depending on the number of offsprings the zoo officials want to have.||Pets are kept for the providing companionship for the owners. The owners are less likely interested in the breeding needs of these animals. They will try to control their pet animals in terms of breeding.|
|Animals in the wild face imminent dangers imposed by human beings such as poaching. This may lead to reduction of exotic animals such as rhinos and elephants.||Animals in the zoos are controlled and maintained by people. It is less likely for them to get killed due to entertainment of people.||Pet animals do not face any dangers. However, they are a threat to people as they have natural instincts. They are unpredictable and may attack even their owners when they feel threatened (Hutchins, Smith and Allard 960).|
The similarities and differences observed in animals in the wild, in the zoos and as pets show that it is important to protect animals and take care of them. People should allow animals to live in their natural environments in order to assist the biological and ecological processes. Human beings should also strive to protect different types of animals not only for their ecological purposes but also for their beauty and attractiveness.
Festa-Bianchet, Marco, and Marco Apollonio. Animal Behavior And Wildlife Conservation. 1st ed. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2003. Print.
Hutchins, Michael, Brandie Smith, and Ruth Allard. ‘In Defense Of Zoos And Aquariums: The Ethical Basis For Keeping Wild Animals In Captivity’. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 223.7 (2003): 958–966. Print.
Kleiman, Devra G, Katerina V Thompson, and Charlotte Kirk Baer. Wild Mammals In Captivity. 1st ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010. Print.