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Zoo Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

You have probably enjoyed visiting a zoo and looking at the animals. But zoos do more than just keep different kinds of animals. Come learn about zoos and some of the important work they do for animals all over the world.

What Do You See at the Zoo?

One minute you're watching gorillas play with each other and the next you're watching penguins sliding on ice and swimming in pools of water. Soon, you're watching snakes slither around but then you quickly move on to pandas eating some bamboo. No, you aren't jumping from continent to continent in a transporter! You're walking around your local zoo!

Zoos are home to many kinds of animals from all over the world that you might not get to see in the wild. Depending on the zoo, some of those animals include polar bears, elephants, giraffes and clouded leopards.

And though you may not have paid much attention to the surroundings in the exhibits where zoo animals live, zoos try to re-create their habitats, or the places they would live in the wild to make them feel more comfortable and less confined. Some of these habitats include grassy plains, deserts and rainforests.

Flamingos in a zoo habitat
Flamingos in zoo habitat

Some zoos are also making animal habitats more interactive and interesting for the animals that live there so they don't get bored. They let the animals make choices about where they go and what they do in their exhibit. Some zoos even give their animals the chance to search for and hunt their own food like they would in the wild.

Zoo panda eating bamboo
Zoo panda eating bamboo

What Happens at the Zoo?

Zoos have many different kinds of animals that you can see and learn about. But teaching people about animals and showing them how they live isn't the only important thing that zoos do.

Zoos study animals in the wild and in the zoo so they can learn more about them. They discover more about how they behave, what kinds of food they need to stay healthy, what conditions they need to have healthy babies and what kinds of medicines and treatments help different kinds of animals survive.

Zoos also work to protect and help animals in the wild that are in danger of going extinct, or disappearing in the wild forever. They use the information they learn from studying animals to participate in conservation plans that help animals survive in the wild. Some of the things zoos do include breeding animals and putting them back into the wild so their numbers can continue to go up.

Jobs at the Zoo

There are many people who work at a zoo and they have different jobs and responsibilities. Some of those jobs include:

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