The world’s best zoos offer face-to-face encounters with some of the most fascinating and rare creatures on the planet–an experience that few people will ever be able to pursue in the wild. Unlike the cramped cages that housed animals in sideshow spectacles of the past, the modern zoo has elevated habitat emulation to an art, carefully recreating animals’ natural environments and offering them challenging activities to reduce boredom and stress.
The evolution of zoos has also included programs dedicated to protecting endangered species, both in captivity and in the wild. Zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) participate in Species Survival Plan Programs that involve captive breeding, reintroduction programs, public education, and field conservation to ensure survival for many of the planet’s threatened and endangered species.
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