Do we still need zoos? Journalist weighs in after Cincinnati Zoo incident

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After the death of the Silver Back Gorilla, Harambe, at Cincinnati Zoo, many are unsatisfied with how zoos operate.

Senior associate editor at The Atlantic, Jay Weston Phippen spoke with WGN via Skype posing the question: “Are zoos relevant and do we need them?”

Phippen shared that the construct of zoos is the main culprit, not the animals. Back in the 1920s, a caged animal was accepted as normal, as there was a fine line between circus and zoo. Today, builders have attempted to facilitate a more open environment for the animals but it comes with a cost to human safety.

Along with the physical layout, keeping endangered species secure also poses a problem. Out of the 238 accredited zoos in America, there are only 30 species in a conservation program.

A “Zoo Topia” in Denmark set to open in 2019, challenges the original structure of zoos where animals are free to roam in un-caged areas while people navigate through closed quarters.

Check out Phippen's full interview above, and read his latest thoughts on the death of Harambe at the Cincinnati Zoo.