• Today's zoo exhibits attempt to immerse visitors in the scene while also enriching the animals' lives. Some zoos are criticized for emphasizing appearances instead of the animals' well-being.

Zoos across the nation are putting their animals in more natural settings instead of cages. For some zoos, it’s done to make the animals’ lives a little more comfortable. But for others, it’s simply done to draw more people rather than to give the animals a better place to live. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham has the details in the first of a two-part series:


  • This grizzly at the St Louis Zoo is displayed in an exhibit that mimics its natural habitat. A whole industry has emerged to manufacture these exhibits.

At your local zoo – if you can suspend disbelief for a moment – you might find yourself in the middle of a tropical rainforest. Or a dusty African plain, watching the animals in their natural habitat. Of course, those wild settings are merely a façade. Clever construction techniques covering up concrete cages. In the second of a two-part series, the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports… the thought and planning behind the displays can be nearly as intricate as nature itself:

Zoo’s Import Captive Breeding Technique (Part 1)

  • Ann van Dyk isthe director and owner of the De Wildt Cheetah Center in South Africa. Her efforts to breed cheetahs in captivity have been recognized as thechief reason the cheetah is no longer on the endangered species list.

Zoos in North America have been working with
a small farm in South Africa to save one of the
fastest animals on earth. In the first report of a
two-part series… the Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Lester Graham reports… the effort
has helped restore populations of cheetahs in the
wild and in zoos:

Questioning the Need for Captive Breeding (Part 2)

  • A pair of cheetahs in a gamepark in Swaziland are protected from hunters. However, there are few places left in the wild for the sleek cats.

Although the cheetah was removed from the endangered species
list more than a decade ago… zoos are still breeding the animal in
captivity. In the second report of a two part series… the Great Lakes
Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports… along with a cheetah center
in Africa… the zoos plan to keep producing cheetahs in case something
happens to the animal in the wild:

Field Biology Adopts a Gentle Touch

In field biology courses across the country, students collect samples of
plants, insects and fish. The specimens are then killed, preserved and
studied. But at one university, they’re trying something new: they’re
saving the lives of specimens. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Wendy
Nelson reports: