Student Survey: Zoos or Aquariums?

Zoos and aquariums are very similar. Both house animals for spectating and are great tourist attractions. Despite this, personal preference on the matter has become a controversial opinion among Nanuet students and staff.

Some students, like senior Leah Swanwick, feel that zoos are unethical. 

“I think zoos are terrible,” she said. “Why would you put a polar bear in the Bronx Zoo? Riddle me that. They smell. And they’re gross. And [the animals] should be where they actually belong, in the wildlife.”

Swanwick was not the only one that took a very passionate stance on the issue. Chorus teacher Ms. Keilah Ussi felt similarly.

“Aquariums,” she said, affirming which one she preferred. “[It’s] not even a question.” 

Arguing the contrary, Aiden Silverstein, grade 11, took an ardent stance on zoo dominance. 

“There’s so much more [bio]diversity,” he said. “You know, fish are fish, they just swim. Get a bird [or] look at a piece of art if you really want pretty colors.” 

One student who wished to remain unnamed scoffed at the question, stating that aquariums are obviously superior, adding that zoos smell.  

“I love fish,” they said. “It’s a very big part of my life. I love the ocean. I think [aquariums] should be normalized and we should have one in Nanuet, and I will be in charge of it.” 

However, pro-zoo junior Abigail Demoura brought up a logical and interesting point.

“There’s aquatic life at the zoo,” she said. “So you really get the best of both worlds.”

There’s also the controversial animal cruelty issue from zoos and aquariums that influences decisions, even making it hard to voice support for either establishment. According to Sophomore Katie Dollinger, this is one of the reasons she prefers aquariums. 

“I feel bad for the animals in the zoo,” She said. 

According to English teacher Mr. Mark Salerno, aquariums create a space issue. 

“By and large, aquariums are far too small for the animals that they contain, and very, very overcrowded,” he said.