The word zoo is derived from the biological discipline zoology and is a shortened form of zoological garden or park. Zoos have been around since the Middle Ages but have changed radically since those days and are still constantly improving. Many zoos now attempt to replicate natural habitats within the enclosures, benefiting both animals and visitors. Particularly popular with small children are petting zoos, often integrated into larger zoos and with a combination of domestic and docile wild animals which may be stroked and fed. Zoos also cause controversy, with many animal rights activists totally against them. Some animal welfare groups recognize the educational value but seek to remedy the poor conditions which unfortunately still exist in some zoos. Animals rocking, swaying or pacing may indicate that they are distressed.
The first zoo open to the public was the Mnagerie du Jardin des Plantes, founded in Paris in 1794. The elephant is the world’s largest mammal and a popular attraction in many zoos. Studies of captive-bred elephants have however shown that they have a significantly shorter lifespan than their counterparts in the wild. This is attributed to obesity, exacerbated by diet and lifestyle related factors. Zebras are another mainstay of many zoos and instantly recognizable thanks to their distinctive black and white stripes. Two of three zebra species – Grévy’s zebra and the mountain zebra – are endangered as their skins are prized trophies and their habitat is gradually being destroyed. Zoo breeding programmes can help save animals such as the zebra, the Asian elephant, the Bengal tiger and the snow leopard from extinction.
You can use the large animal pictures as desktop wallpaper.