A lot of animals are in danger of extinction in America’s zoo system, including lions, giraffes and elephants.
A lot is going wrong with their lives and the way they’re treated.
And even though the United States is the world’s biggest zoo exporter, the animals are not getting a fair shot.
A new report from the National Zoo Conservation Trust estimates that America is on track to lose 50% of its African lions by 2035.
That would leave just 4% of the population of the species left to the wild.
It’s an astounding number, given the huge number of lions, but it’s also a big reason that our national parks and other wildlife refuges are so important.
But that’s only half of the problem.
Zoos don’t have enough staff.
They need more veterinarians and caretakers, and they need more visitors.
The zoo system is understaffed.
More than half of American zoos are now staffed with just three or fewer staff members, according to a report by the National Zoological Park Conservancy.
There’s a shortage of food.
There are also too few places to feed them.
Zoo officials are trying to increase the number of feeders and other facilities that offer nutritious food and drink, but that will require increasing public awareness and donations to feed the animals.
And that’s going to be harder than it’s ever been.
The zoos’ problems aren’t just limited to animals, either.
There is a growing trend toward euthanasia.
This year alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly a quarter of zoos had euthanized animals.
That’s a staggering number, considering that the animals’ caretreatments are just starting to be understood.
Many people don’t understand that zoos do important things for the animals and the public.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the science of zoo care, the National Academy of Sciences has a great article about the topic.
It has a chapter on animal welfare, but there are a lot of good articles on the topic, too.
But this year, zoos across the country are experiencing a huge drop in visitors, a sharp decrease in visitor numbers, and a sharp increase in the number and severity of animal deaths.
As you can see from the graph below, that means the animals, their caretaches, and the staff are being taken from the people who come to see them.
That means the zoos can’t keep up with the growing demand for animal products.
And it means that fewer people are willing to spend time at these places, which means fewer animals are able to live their full lives.
The situation is dire, and it’s time to act.
Zootopia is a beautiful, diverse world, and our animals deserve a fair chance.
If your favorite animal needs help, we’re here to help.