Ecosystem services

Ecosystem services are the numerous and diverse benefits that people openly benefit from the natural surroundings and also from properly-functioning ecosystems. Such ecosystems contain, by way of instance, agroecosystems, forest ecosystems, grassland ecosystems and aquatic ecosystems. These ecosystems working properly supplies such matters such as agricultural produce, lumber, and aquatic organisms including fishes and fishes. Together, these advantages have become called'ecosystem services', and are frequently essential to the provisioning of fresh drinking water, the decomposition of wastes, as well as also the natural pollination of plants and other crops. Supporting services comprise services like nutrient cycling, primary production, soil formation, habitat supply and pollination.

Habitat Conservation

Habitat conservation for wild species is among the most crucial problems facing the environment today - both in the sea and on land. As human populations increase, land usage grows, and wild species have smaller distances to call house. Over fifty percent of all Earth's terrestrial surface was changed because of human activity, leading to extreme deforestation, erosion and loss of topsoil, biodiversity loss, and even extinction. Species can't survive out their normal habitat with no human intervention, like the habitats within a zoo or aquarium, such as. Maintaining habitats is vital to maintaining biodiversity. Migratory species are especially vulnerable to habitat destruction since they have a tendency to occupy more than a natural habitat. Changing a natural habitat slightly may bring about a domino effect that hurts the whole ecosystem.

Supporting services

While scientists and environmentalists have discussed ecosystem solutions implicitly for a long time, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) from the early 2000s popularized this idea. Additionally, ecosystem services are grouped into four broad classes:
Supporting services

like the creation of water and food

Supporting services

like the control of disease and climate

Supporting services

including nutrient cycles and oxygen generation

Supporting services

such as recreational and spiritual advantages

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Creature Discomforts: Life in Lockdown

International wildlife charity Born Free is calling on the Government to implement a long-overdue review and reform of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 to significantly raise the standards in the more than 300 licensed zoos in Britain. Find out more...

The post Creature Discomforts: Life in Lockdown appeared first on Kate on Conservation.

International wildlife charity Born Free is calling on the Government to implement a long-overdue review and reform of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 to significantly raise the standards in the more than 300 licensed zoos in Britain. Find out more...

The post Creature Discomforts: Life in Lockdown appeared first on Kate on Conservation.

International wildlife charity Born Free is calling on the Government to implement a long-overdue review and reform of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 to significantly raise the standards in the more than 300 licensed zoos in Britain.

This follows the release of their new animation – Creature Discomforts: Life in Lockdown – in which members of the public reflect on living with the COVID-19 pandemic, poignantly highlighting how many wild animals will spend their whole lives behind bars.

Born Free’s Head of Animal Welfare and Captivity, Dr. Chris Draper, said: “Britain has a large number of licensed zoos and they are a very mixed bag, from household names in metropolitan areas and safari parks, to farm parks with exotic animals, falconry centres, and more.”

“Now that the Government has made available more than £100 million of taxpayers’ money to British zoos in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Born Free is calling for an urgent review of existing legislation to make the multi-million pound zoo industry more accountable, transparent and humane.”

Marius the giraffe, Copenhagen Zoo
Image:  Marius the giraffe butchered in front of crowds of zoo visitors (including an audience of children) at Copenhagen Zoo

With the zoo industry responsible for the lives of hundreds of thousands of wild animals, and in light of concerns about zoos culling healthy animals, and making frequent, often unsubstantiated, conservation claims, Born Free’s reforms include:

Publication of zoo inspection reports and annual species stocklists, including data on causes of death

Currently, summary details of animal deaths and their causes are not required to be declared externally, while the results of zoo inspections and details of what animals are kept are only available through a complex and challenging Freedom of Information process to the 350+ local authorities in Britain who are currently responsible for licensing zoos.

Greater conservation participation from zoos, and a clear, published audit of each zoo’s conservation and education commitment

While zoos have a legal obligation to participate in conservation and educationthe required level is minimal and the process of assessment is neither transparent nor consistent.

Captive elephant pacing
Image: The reality of Creature Discomforts

Centralisation of licensing of zoos, and a permanent zoo inspectorate… 

Currently there is no central oversight of all zoos in Britain – licences are granted, and inspections coordinated, by the hundreds of local authorities across the country. A centralised licencing body would allow for surveillance of the whole zoo sector, and avoid serious, longstanding concerns about potential conflicts of interest. 

A permanent inspectorate would improve consistency between inspections and also allow for more frequent inspections with proper follow-ups to ensure that mandated changes are actually completed by zoos.

Changes to the Standards of Modern Zoo Practice required as a priority 

The Secretary of State’s Standards of Modern Zoo Practice are supplementary guidelines for zoos, outlining what is expected of zoos under licence. However, not only is greater specificity urgently required to ensure more appropriate care of animals, the standards must also be legally enforceable, which is currently not the case.

captive monkeys at the zoo
Image: Creature Discomforts for real; cramp enclosures and little privacy

An assessment of medium to long-term financial viability plus mandatory zoo insurance bond in event of closure or crisis  

The COVID-19 Pandemic has shone a spotlight on the financial fragility of zoos. A number of zoos have recently claimed that they are considering culling animals because they can no longer afford to keep them – a situation that may get significantly worse as winter approaches and visitor numbers dwindle. Mandatory payment into a Zoo Insurance Bond (similar to the travel industry’s ATOL bond) should be a key requirement for anyone operating a zoo.

The Government has already earmarked £114 million of taxpayer’s money to provide temporary relief for British zoos, however, a regular financial assessment and a business health-check should form a key part of the licensing and inspection process.

Operating a zoo is a costly long-term commitment. Zoo licensees are responsible for the lives of each animal within their care and they should have the funds, as part of a well thought-through business plan, to ensure that, should the zoo fall on hard times, the animal collection can be carefully and humanely rehomed and the facility closed.

Captive zoo lion

Dr Draper continues: “When it was enacted in the 1980s, the Zoo Licensing Act was a progressive step to provide a minimum level of protection for animals in zoos, but time has marched on and it is clear that more is now needed; not only to meet the complex needs of wild animals in zoos, and to avert an animal welfare crisis if and when zoos close, but also to match public expectations of the role of zoos, allowing people to make clear judgements about whether zoos are – or are not – contributing meaningfully to conservation and education”.

For more information or to support Born Free, visit

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Learn more about Born Free’s work to see an end to ‘creature discomforts’

  • Wind of Change: 35th anniversary of Born Free
  • My involvement with Born Free
  • Born Free’s 30th Anniversary

Find out more about the zoo debate

  • New film raises awareness of zoo animals’ welfare issues
  • British Zoos — their politics and history
  • I suppose it all starts with zoos…
  • Be the one traveler, long I stood
  • Conservation: the cons, count downs and continuations
  • A lifelong love of animals

Learn more about elephants in captivity

  • Jumbo the Elephant – London Zoo’s most famous resident
  • The Elephant in the Room film
  • Elephants – Captivity vs. Paradise

Learn more about lions in captivity

  • Big Cats in captivity
  • Claws Out film exposes the truth about volunteering with lions in South Africa
  • Claws Out: Beth Jennings interview
  • YouthForLions: Breaking the captive lion cycle
  • Big Cats in captivity

Learn more about great apes in captivity

  • Harambe the silverback gorilla and the question of captivity

Learn more about orca in captivity

  • Lolita the orca: 50 years in a tank
  • SeaWorld: Behold, the great water circus!
  • Killer whales in captivity: guest post by Ben Stockwell
  • Blackfish Tilikum: An homage to his memory and a promise to myself

The post Creature Discomforts: Life in Lockdown appeared first on Kate on Conservation.

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