Nonhuman Primates In Zoos

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Millions of years ago, primates developed in a wild post-dinosaur world and have revolutionized into the undomesticated mammals found in the subtropical regions of preset-day Africa, Asia, and South America. Primates are mammals that are characterized by having nails on the hands and feet, a short snout, flexible first digits, and a large brain. Almost all nonhuman primate species can be found in zoos all over the world. The condition of nonhuman primates in zoos are important because the mistreatment of animals is frowned upon in society and people belong to the primate order and share many characteristics with greater apes and other primates. The introduction of primates in zoos has led to advances in the health, lifespan, and animal…show more content…
Researchers of a study performed on wild and captive orangutans write, “…Factors such as improper hygienic situations, improper diet, diseases, obesity, injuries from exhibits, poor adaption to a climate, spread of infections, inbreeding, and social stress might actually increase mortality in captivity”, (De Vries 680). The study described how the modern improvements for zoo animals have only recently matched the average survival rate of wild species. Although this statement is true to some degree, it can also be argued that studies on mental characteristic are not one hundred percent accurate. Another study on assessing the mental health of captive and wild chimpanzees describes the multitude of uncontrollable variables when testing hypothesizes. The testing methods are not catered specifically to nonhuman primates and to other non-vocal species. (Rosati 332). This researcher describes how it is challenging to prove the accuracy of studies that are testing mental…show more content…
Several current federal animal laws like the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Public Health Service Act (PHS), and the Marine Animal Protection Act (MAPA) contribute to the protection of animals, but do not apply to captive zoo animals specifically (Braverman 1698). Organizations like the NhRP (a team of attorneys and legal experts), a Science Working Group, and other activist groups are taking several animal cases to court to grant intelligent species with the basic rights of life and liberty as well as protecting them from ownership and medical experimentation (Mitra 18). Changing the legal status of intelligent species from “things” to “persons” has the possibility to encourage positive change in all captive species. Editor Maureen Nandini Mitra writes, “…the volume of research into the intelligence of these animals (great apes, elephants, dolphins, and whales) and their similarity to us might make judges less resistant to accepting them as legal persons”, (Mitra 25). The research collected that proves the parallels of humans to numerous animal species assists in legally improving the lives of captive

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