Since the age of antiquity, people have been fascinated by exotic species. This has resulted in the development of specialized facilities for holding a large array of foreign plants and animals, known as zoos. Filled with some of the rarest creatures in the galaxy, the Zoo is a great attraction for planets with a large population. The broad swath of land occupied by this structure contains hundreds of the galaxy's most exciting creatures, and is visited by sentients of all ages, making the Zoo a great attraction for everybody.
Zoos typically contain a large number of exhibits, each one filled with native species from a different planet or ecosystem. Fitted with life-support systems and artificial climate controls, each is made to suit the original habitats of the plants and animals it contains. This is done by changing each exhibit’s temperature and creating an artificial environment by pumping synthetically created gases into the confined areas. The exhibits also mimic the weather and day and night patterns of the original planets to best suit the contained plants and animals. Zookeepers often have to wear protective gear when tending to the creatures to protect themselves from the harsh climates and toxic atmospheres being simulated.
In recent years, a large number of animal rights groups have emerged calling for the release of all animals held in captivity. In order to combat the controversy surrounding the maintenance of zoos, scientists point to the wide range of breeding and rehabilitation programs run by these zoos. These breeding programs serve to protect endangered species, and are frequently known to be so successful that the zoos are able to release individuals bred in captivity to bolster dwindling populations.
While zoos are now designed for the enjoyment of sentients, they were originally intended for scientific studies. Zoologists study the wide range of flora and fauna to obtain a greater understanding of their physiological structure, behavior, evolution and biological classification. A number of scientists also study the various plants and animals in search of natural antidotes, cures and medicines. However, some government and private sector employed scientists use their research for more sinister purposes: the design of biological and chemical weapons based on several species’ natural defenses.