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Believe It or Not: Mammal Life Longer in Enclosure, Studies Say

Nov 08, 2016 10:59 AM EST
Baby Elephat at the Berlin Zoo
Baby Elephat at the Berlin Zoo
(Photo : Getty Images)

In nature, there are a variety of factors that affect the longevity of any species. This may include predation, environment, food shortages, significant changes in climate, and many more. It is inevitable that even large predators are subject to the harsh conditions of the environment to which it could succumb to. According to the theory of Charles Darwin, it is the species who adapts best that will survive. With news that a god percentage of mammals could survive longer in enclosure, has mankind affected the balance of the environment positively?

With environmental imbalance increasing its threat over the years, it is now the primary ambition of many societies in the world to protect and preserve the life of animals. However, it is a surprising find that a certain percentage of animals, especially mammals, live longer while in captivity than in the wild.

The data is based on the average lifespan of animals in the wild which have been tagged and closely monitored over the years. On the other hand, animals in the zoo have incredible records of birth, death, and many of its milestones. According to the research of a team from the University of Zurich, smaller mammals attain a longer lifespan in captivity. Since larger animals usually prey on these smaller mammals, their life in enclosure has sheltered them from exposure to predation and even competition.

Though it may be true that zoos keep these animals sheltered and protected from nature's rage and ferocity, it does not mean that they are perfectly safe. In the event that these animals are released once again to the wild, especially those who have been born in the zoo, might not be able to survive the harshness of nature. Furthermore, there are still ethical considerations of the need to really put these animals in cages.

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