'Ugly Animals' Need Our Help, Too : The Two-Way Zoos are the only thing standing between some animals and total extinction. But Zoos are also businesses and tend to favor housing and breeding animals that are appealing to humans. "Ugly" animals are often left to their own devices.
NPR logo 'Ugly Animals' Need Our Help, Too

'Ugly Animals' Need Our Help, Too

Cute enough? Lion cubs and their mother Stefani at the zoo in the Bulgarian capital Sofia. Nikolay Doychinov/Getty hide caption

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Zoos are the only thing standing between some animals and total extinction. But Zoos are also businesses and tend to favor housing and breeding animals that are appealing to humans. "Ugly" animals are often left to their own devices, or so argues an article by Rose Eveleth over at Scientific American.

From the article:

David Stokes, an ecologist at the University of Washington Bothell, agrees, noting that a biodiversity crisis is at hand. The current rate of extinction is up to 1,000 times faster than it would be without humans, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). The surviving species will "be the ones we decide to save," Stokes says. If zoos decide not to save "ugly" animals, they could go extinct. Snails and insects, for example, almost never make it into zoos.