Definition of zoo noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//zuː//
; NAmE NAmE//zuː//
(pl. zoos) (formal zoological garden(s)) Animal homes
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a place where many kinds of wild animals are kept for the public to see and where they are studied, bred and protected See related entries: Animal homes Word Originmid 19th cent.: abbreviation of zoological garden, originally applied specifically to that of Regent's Park, London. CultureanimalsThe British and Americans are famous for being animal lovers, and many families have at least one pet. People from other countries often think British and American people are sentimental about animals, and say that they fuss over them and treat them better than human beings.At weekends people in Britain often visit farm parks, safari parks (= parks where people can drive close to lions, zebras etc.), zoos, bird parks and sea life centres. In the US there are zoos and aquaria (= large tanks of fish), which are educational, and also amusement parks with animals, like Busch Gardens and Disney's Animal Kingdom.Television programmes about animals are very popular. These range from factual programmes about wildlife to films starring fictional animals. Children are given cuddly toy animals and picture books about animals. Children's literature has created many famous animal characters, such as Black Beauty, Brer Rabbit, Pooh, and Ratty, Mole and Toad in The Wind in the Willows. Many animals in books have their own distinctive character: lions are typically brave, foxes are cunning and cats are proud.There are laws against cruelty to animals in Britain and the US. People give generously to animal charities such as the RSPCA and the ASPCA, and there are animal hospitals and rescue centres for injured and abandoned animals. Most of these, and most zoos are fairly modern, and many animals live in a large enclosure similar to their natural habitat, rather than in a cage. Often zoos keep only animals that cannot survive in the wild or were born in captivity. Some breed animals to put back into the wild and try to raise public awareness about the need for conservation.Many people care about wild animals. People feed wild birds in the winter and some have a bird table in the garden. In the US the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) helps people to create their own 'backyard wildlife habitat'.There are often campaigns to save species that are endangered (= that may become extinct), such as wolves and buffalo in the US, and red squirrels and hedgehogs in Britain. In rural areas people generally have much less romantic ideas about animals. In Britain hunting foxes with dogs arouses hostile feelings, especially among people living in towns, but the law to ban it, which came into effect in 2005, is seen by many people living in the country as an attack on their way of life. There is also a lot of discussion about whether the numbers of badgers, which are a type of wild animal living in the countryside, should be reduced. They are thought to pass on the disease tuberculosis to cows, and therefore many farmers are in favour of a reduction in their numbers. Other people feel that it is wrong to kill badgers and that other solutions to the problem should be found.In Britain and the US many people are concerned about animal rights, especially the use of animals in scientific research and public pressure has forced many cosmetics manufacturers to stop testing products on animals. Several groups, including the Animal Liberation Front and PETA, strongly oppose vivisection (= the use of live animals in experiments) and animal rights activists organize protests at laboratories where animals are used. Sometimes people who work or invest in companies that own the laboratories are threatened.Concern about farming methods in which animals are fattened as quickly as possible in artificial conditions causes many people to become vegetarians or to buy only meat that is from animals that have lived in good conditions.Extra examples These lions were born in the zoo. We saw a baby polar bear at the zoo. a badly-run zoo
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