Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Tanisi. Tanisi Wonders, “How is a zoo made ? ” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Tanisi!
If you live on a farm or just really love animals, you may have expanded your stable of pets to include multiple dogs and cats or even other animals, such as fish, birds, hamsters, or guinea pigs. You might even keep something more exotic, like a snake, iguana, or ferret.
When you care for a lot of pets, there comes a time when you'll probably think it's time to start your own zoo and charge admission for people to see and play with your pets. With all that extra money, you could add even more animals!
Who doesn't need a zebra, giraffe, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, and seal? You might even be able to get some lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!
If you've ever been to a zoo, then you might be thinking that starting one of your own might not be as easy as it sounds. You'd be correct. There's a reason zoos tend to be owned and operated by large organizations often connected to or associated with the cities where they're located.
If you have your heart set on your own private zoo, you're going to need lots of money and lots of help in the form of experienced personnel to build appropriate enclosures and maintain proper care for the animals around the clock.
You're also going to need plenty of legal advice to navigate your way through the many laws, statutes, ordinances, and regulations that apply to keeping rare or exotic animals in captivity and for public display.
For example, in the United States, the primary federal law regulating the exhibition and care of captive wild animals is the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The AWA requires zoos to treat animals humanely by providing adequate space, a proper diet, and access to veterinary care.
In addition to federal law, your private zoo may also be subject to a variety of state and local laws, ordinances, and regulations. For example, in most places it is illegal to own wild animals without permits. Zoning regulations will also determine exactly where you could locate a zoo.
Jumping through all of these legal hoops is no easy feat. Once you tackle the legal hurdles, though, then the real fun starts: obtaining animals legally. The most sought-after animals are often endangered, which means it would be illegal to get them from the wild or import them into the U.S.
Endangered animals might be able to be borrowed from other zoos. Non-endangered animals can be obtained in a variety of ways, but they can be expensive and still require permits or other special permission to keep.
If you still have your sights set on opening your own private zoo, it'll be helpful if you're a multi-millionaire. It can take millions of dollars to build the enclosures and infrastructure needed to house and care for a wide variety of wild animals successfully.
You're also going to have to feed them. Unfortunately, your local pet store doesn't sell Tiger Chow. Seals will need fish, carnivores will expect fresh red meat, and many other animals will require a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. You might even have to import specialized foods from natural habitats overseas.
In the end, private zoos often don't work out very well for the owners or the animals. Too often they become burdensome and animals are abandoned or sold off when private zoos shut down. If working closely with a variety of animals is your dream, then you should probably set your sights on a job at one of the hundreds of zoos that already exist around the world.