Victoria and Damian Aspinall run zoot Howlett’s Wild Animal Park in Kent, UK. But they don’t really want the zone to exist at all.
Millionaire Damien Aspinal inherited the zoo from his father, and now he says all zoos should be closed. The youngest, like London Zoo, in ten years and the rest in 25-30, he told The Times.
There is no excuse for the existence of any zoo today, he tells the newspaper and continues:
Since parents take their kids to zoos when they are young, they get older and think the area is fine, he says.
The zoo owner continues the argument that children who are allowed to go to zoos know that it is okay to keep animals that hunt for entertainment.
Not a good way to save the species
It is believed that zoos would be beneficial for conserving the species, a feature often overrated by the gardens themselves.
Only about five percent of the mammals found in zoos around Europe are at extreme risk. However, according to zoo owner Damien Aspinall, there are issues with diseases and crossbreeding in the area, rendering caged animals useless when it comes to preserving the species, he tells The Times.
He looks like a hypocrite
Damian Aspinall is active in the family-owned Aspinall Foundation where his main commitment is to rehabilitate wildlife and allow the animals to return to nature.
He also criticizes the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) for believing they run an unnecessary breeding system for elephants, with more than 400,000 still out in the open.
There are also 20,000 elephants in large nature reserves in Africa, which is another reason why the zoo owner believes there is no reason to have elephants in the zoo to conserve the species.
Instead, Damien Espinal believes the reason the animals are kept in cages is because the public loves to watch them for their fun.
He would have preferred to see that the money spent on keeping elephants and rhinos in cages should be used to support the fight against poaching in Africa.
Damien Aspinal tells the Times that he feels like a hypocrite owning a zoo. His ambition is to turn zoot into a mere rescue hub.
Other zoo owners disagree
Other zoo owners in the UK disagree with Aspinall’s view that the area should be closed.
Owner Paignton Zoo and Newquay Zoo told The Times that breeding takes time and that waiting for the species to be properly risked of extinction could mean it is too late. Visits to the zoo are also believed to be positive due to the educational factor.
Malcolm Fitzpatrick of ZSL, which runs the London Zoo, says staff at the zoo are gaining skills that are also used in the wild, such as freeing tigers from poachers’ traps, The Times writes. An EAZA spokesperson believes that phasing out elephants from zoos will not aid conservation efforts in the wild.
The zoo kills perfectly healthy lion cubs
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