Although many zoos claim to be centres of conservation in order to justify keeping animals in captivity, this is sadly not the case. We believe that zoos can be damaging to conservation efforts. Effective conservation is carried out by working in the animals’ natural habitat to protect individuals and entire ecosystems, stopping poachers and educating communities in the animals natural environment.

Zoos claim to breed animals for eventual release to the wild but breeding programmes are primarily to ensure a captive population, not for reintroduction. In fact, captive breeding is considered by some conservation scientists to give a false impression that a species is safe so that destruction of habitat and wild populations can continue.

In UK zoos, the vast majority of animals in captivity face no conservation threat in the wild. By focusing on zoos in Wales, we carried out research which unearthed that just 9% of animals held captive are endangered and 17% are threatened in the wild.  

It is time zoos were honest with the public and stopped using conservation claims as a veil for animal exploitation.