Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2023

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


John Van Buren


Zoos and aquariums have always been a controversial topic. The image of animals behind bars is synonymous with zoos and aquariums from all over the world and that's all most people see. Zoos and Aquariums go much deeper than that negative perception and the notion that we are “locking away” animals solely for our selfish entertainment clouds zoos and aquariums higher purposes. Chapter 1 focuses on the histories of zoological parks, it brings to light some of the environmental problems zoos and aquariums are striving to fix while revealing to us why zoos possess such stereotypes. Chapter 2 dives into an issue that gives modern zoos much backlash, even though amazing work like conservation and education are the higher purposes that justify their existence. The common issue brought up is animal ethics, whereas zoos and aquariums are focused on providing animals with the best animal welfare they can give. Chapter 3 focuses on the issue of conservation biology and how zoos remedy that problem. While of course using the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium as key examples of this. Chapter 4 talks about environmental education while again using the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium as references. Chapter 5 gives us some ways zoos and aquariums can help change their negative perception as to highlight their higher purpose of conservation and education. This will be done through bettering current initiatives performed by zoos as their is still much that can be improved upon. The chapter will also see the proposal of creating and improving current animal welfare laws, these proposals will be modeled by the standards mandated by AZA.