Sunday, January 29, 2017

January 28, 2017
By Robin Ganzert

The world’s fastest cats (click here) are sprinting toward extinction, with half of the global cheetah population expected to be wiped out in the next 15 years, according to a new report released last month. But as cheetahs and other vulnerable animal species race to outrun the mounting threats to their survival, public support is in danger of slowing for the zoos and aquariums that stand on the frontlines of wildlife conservation.
Of course, there are bad actors, with so-called “roadside zoos” — exploitative establishments known for the gross negligence and abuse of animals — as some of the most egregious cases-in-point. However, it’s inaccurate and irresponsible to conflate these barbaric enterprises with the ethical zoos and aquariums around the world committed to improving the lives of animals, both in human care and in the wild.
Modern zoos and aquariums are leading global efforts to protect the lives of wild animals at a time when they’re more vulnerable than ever before. Our planet is currently facing what scientists call the “Sixth Extinction,” with a rapid rate of species die-offs that rivals the extinction wave that killed off the dinosaurs. A recent report from the World Wildlife Fund warned that without swift and substantial human intervention, more than two-thirds of the world’s wildlife could be gone by the end of the decade....