LETTER : Protect species in wild, not zoos

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The Independent Online
From Ms Becky Smith

Sir: Chester Zoo is apparently "dedicated to world-wide conservation" (Section Two; "Two big fish battling for one small pond", 7 February). But Karha, "a commercial godsend", is only the second Asiatic elephant to have survived her first four weeks in a British zoo after "years of labour and investment".

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red Data book of endangered animals lists over 4,000 species, but zoos have only been responsible for 16 (phenomenally expensive) successful reintroduction projects. Most animals who are born within the institutionalised environment of a zoo are unable to cope with the outside world.

Instead of running breeding programmes while ignoring the systematic destruction of animals in the wild, resources should be channelled into protecting the territory from which these species originate.

Yours faithfully,

Becky Smith

Campaign Officer

Animal Aid

Tonbridge,

Kent

7 February

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