I love going to the zoo! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love going to the zoo! I’ve heard all of the opinions about the zoo and what it does to the animals that are living in captivity. I understand how many zoos are miserable examples of the habitat that any one of these animals would have or even should have lived in naturally. Keeping them as pets is even more detrimental to their lives than the zoo.
It goes without saying that a predatory animal that lives in confinement can lose its ability to hunt down prey for food. After all they wouldn’t be using that skill in the zoo. These animals also can get fat and lazy. They are eating without expending the energy normally needed to acquire food or shelter. People have always debated returning these creatures to the wild but with this lack of hunting skill, these animals wouldn’t have the life skills needed to survive. They wouldn’t even have the appropriate physique to handle the stresses of a life in the wild.
As if this wasn’t enough, now we are realizing another issue. Socially these animals carry a sort of stigma for being raised by humans. There are so many social skills that are taught to the animals in the wild by the biological family that is not taught by the human care giver. These skills are the focus of a new study that was undertaken by the Lincoln Park Zoo. The researchers have been studying a full spectrum of chimp vs. human interaction. It was found that the only real behavior that was affected was the social grooming, but this can be a big issue for the chimps. “If you ignored someone reaching out for a handshake, there’d b e this strange tension. And chimps can be very aggressive when that kind of tension arises, so you don’t want that happening.” Steve Ross, director of the Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The concern is greater in instances that chimpanzees are raised in isolation, like when people have a chimp as a pet.
So having a chimpanzee as a pet is not really a good idea. Keeping the chimp in the zoo after it has been isolated in an effort to normalize its life is a better option. Not to mention that, as chimps grow into adulthood, they become too large and aggressive to keep at home.