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SatAug 31

National Zoo Awareness Day – August 31, 2024

National Zoo Awareness Day is on August 31. Do you love zoos and wildlife as much as we do? Zoos are perfect places to bond over a shared love for animals. Contrary to popular perception, they’re not just places for kids and families. We know we’ve been to many a zoo with friends or even on a date. Being around animals elevates any experience. We believe it can change life perspectives altogether. National Zoo Awareness Day in the U.K. celebrates zoos as spaces of learning and fun. When done right, zoos can probably save the world.

History of National Zoo Awareness Day

The history of zoos dates back to the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. The intent, of course, was different. Back then, many rulers kept exotic animals — to either gift other rulers or for vanity’s sake. There was little to no effort in caring for the animals. Humans still lacked the requisite knowledge or will.

Over millennia, our understanding of the animal kingdom evolved. We saw animal trainers and zookeepers emerge. But the general idea of animals as exotic entertainment persisted. Gradually, new knowledge and tools for caring for animals became widespread; zoos and aquariums were born. Around the same time, the idea of humans caring for wildlife first took root and stayed.

By the 19th century, zoology became a popular field of science. Private animal collections were frowned upon, becoming less and less popular over time. The modern zoo as we know it today grew from this evolution of thought. Even so, not all of them are the same.

There are zoos open to the public, while others are purely for conservation purposes. Many private zoos run breeding programs to protect critically endangered species from extinction. Other programs take in rescued animals that can no longer survive in the wild for various reasons.

As conscientious citizens, we must critically examine the zoos in our areas. What is the intent? Are there programs that benefit the animals and conservation? Does the zoo educate the community on wildlife and ecosystems? Are the animal enclosures mimicking natural habitats? National Zoo Awareness Day hopes to instill fascination, love, and respect for animals; particularly when they are in human care.

National Zoo Awareness Day timeline

3100 B.C. — 332 B.C.
The Earliest Zoos

In Ancient Egypt, Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s animal collection is widely-known.

Zoological Gardens Become Popular

Ticket sales and charitable contributions to zoological gardens help to fund scientific research on animals.

National Parks are Born

The United States forms national parks and passes laws to preserve natural habitats.

The Rise of Ethical Zoos

Yorkshire Wildlife Park is established to encourage ethical tourism and conservation efforts.

National Zoo Awareness Day FAQs

Are there holidays that celebrate animals?

From pets to rare wildlife, numerous holidays celebrate animals. Some examples are World Whale Day, World Spay Day, and National Walking the Dog Day. The list is endless.

What is celebrated on October 4?

October 4 is World Animal Welfare Day. Welfare standards for animals need a critical overhaul. The day aims to raise global awareness and inspire action for animal rights.

How many national pet days are there?

There are hundreds of pet holidays out there. They’re occasions to celebrate our pets in fun, creative ways. Some holidays remind us to go the extra mile when caring for pets.

National Zoo Awareness Day Activities

  1. Visit an ethical zoo

    When was the last time you went to the zoo? Make a day of it with your family. Choose one that seeks to educate the general public on animal welfare.

  2. Watch a nature documentary

    The BBC’s “Planet Earth” series is all kinds of awe-inspiring. “Blue Planet” comes a close second.

  3. Support a zoo

    Support conservation efforts by volunteering or donating to a non-profit zoo. Most of them depend on funding to sustain research and rescue programs.

5 Facts About Wildlife Sanctuaries That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Costa Rica’s Sloth Sanctuary

    This sanctuary is home to numerous sloths rescued from hazardous urban environments.

  2. Louisiana’s Chimp Haven

    More than 300 chimps rescued from biomedical facilities live and frolic in the forests of Louisiana.

  3. Australia’s Moonlight Sanctuary

    Guests can go on both day and night tours to see Australia's famous residents: wombats, koalas, and wallabies.

  4. Bulgaria’s Dancing Bear Park

    The park is a safe home for rescued bears that were once trained and performed across Bulgaria.

  5. Senegal’s Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary

    The park's 40,000 acres of wetland is a sanctuary for hundreds of migratory birds.

Why We Love National Zoo Awareness Day

  1. The Earth belongs to everyone

    The world isn’t ours alone. Caring for animals reminds us just how much our futures are interlinked.

  2. Wildlife is inspiring

    Wildlife leaves us spellbound. We start to feel small, in the best way possible.

  3. A reason to visit the zoo

    In an increasingly online world, visiting a zoo still hasn't lost its appeal. Today’s perfect for a fun day out.

National Zoo Awareness Day dates

2024August 31Saturday
2025August 31Sunday
2026August 31Monday
2027August 31Tuesday
2028August 31Thursday

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