Stop Stealing Animals From the Wild for Zoos

Target: Kevin Shea, Administrator, U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

Goal: Demand zoos use only rescued animals for human display.

Zoos can be a wonderful place to visit. They give us exposure to animals we may never see otherwise in real life. Through these experiences, people can learn more about all the creatures found on the planet and their habits and connections to one another. Zoos also offer opportunities for animals who are endangered or injured and will not survive in the wild. Not only does this give us a chance to fulfill curiosity about other creatures, it gives those animals a second chance at life.

Unfortunately, zoos do not operate so altruistically. Out of the estimated 800,000 animals in zoos, those that are bred in captivity also end up behind bars with generations after them never getting to run free. While it is understandable zoos have an invested interest in staying stocked with animals, they should not lose sight of their goal to operate in the best interest of wildlife under their supervision. Using all or mostly animals rescued from unsafe circumstances is the best way to improve zoo operations.

Rescued animals can include those that are injured or healthy animals close to extinction. Injured animals who may die in the wild can live safely in captivity given they have care sympathetic to the adjustment from their natural habitat. Those facing extinction can be protected, too, chiefly in the event any safely bred in zoos are correctly reintroduced to the wild. According to PETA, animals facing extinction only make up 18% of those in zoos, evidence there is much work to be done to make these establishments a place to sustain species the world may lose otherwise.

Sign the petition below to urge Administrator Shea towards an understanding for how important it is for zoos to be about animal conservation, not just human recreation.


Dear Administrator Shea,

Every year, animal welfare is more important to people than in previous generations. U.S. zoos have always operated on a platform revolving around conservation, though not much has been done to improve animal welfare efforts at a reasonable pace. Their cages are stocked with wildlife that may not need human help whether from injury or endangerment. Those who do face extinction are bred more for entertainment rather than their survival. This is where APHIS needs to step in.

Because zoos will always be popular for children and interested adults alike, they still can survive with a shift in business model. Plenty of animals with permanent injury can be sourced from the wild and nurtured in captivity given fair and understanding care. In addition, with more animals facing endangerment and extinction every day, zoos have a fabulous chance to not only facilitate the survival of these poor creatures, but maintain a population for people to enjoy and learn about. Remember, zoos are first and foremost for the animals.

We urge you to reevaluate the guidelines governing zoos and to enforce a more animal-centric approach to their operation.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Andrew King


  1. Tracey Griser says:

    Stop The Madness
    Help The Voiceless

  2. Disgusting humans can capture a wild animal and cage it like a slave. Pure evil! This needs to end NOW.

  3. Gilda Provenzano says:


  4. Maria Lavorato says:

    Yes ban going to zoos! There should only exist animal sanctuaries which would be there to help injured and endangered animals/species.


    Pass and enforce laws that foremost protect animals from greedy captivity!

  5. Shirley Lemieux says:

    I support the basis of this petition in that Wild animals should not be taken out of their natural habitat only to be put on display in a Zoo. I agree that Zoos should use only Animals that have been rescued or even animals that would not be able to survive in the wild.

  6. Stop supporting zoos and marine parks altogether, “zoothanasia” and “The Cove” demonstrate the horrors. Since humans won’t cease what causes species to become endangered/extinct in the first place, then enslaving animals in zoos is just temporary profiteering from animal exploitation.

  7. wild animals belong in the wild or in a sanctuary no place else is acceptable, full stop.

  8. Urszula Lund says:

    NEVER visit Zoos. Don’t support animal prisons!
    Visit national parks instead and other natural area trails.

  9. Large animals need miles of space to roam, not in zoo cages please leave them free,

  10. Agree all comments

    • Bev Woodburn says:

      I agree with all the comments made.

      All Large and small animals need miles of space to roam, not in zoo cages please leave them free,

  11. Wendy+Morrison says:


  12. Michelle Stewart says:

    Zoos and aquariums must be shut down all over the world. All the animals from the zoos must get put into sanctuaries or released back into the wild (if applicable).

  13. ZOOS are HELL-HOLES for Animals — this is a FACT — on the other hand, we do have Sanctuaries for Animals who no longer able to live in the Wild — SHUT DOWN all ZOOS — there are many ways to learn about and observe our Animals

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