Letter: Conservation not only in captivity

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The Independent Online
From Mr Peter J S Olney

Sir: Becky Smith's letter (16 February) is an inaccurate definition of the role of the modern zoo.

Zoos do not claim their work to be a substitute for conservation in the wild but they do claim that, increasingly, extra help is needed and responsible zoos can provide essential conservation back-up; not only by co-ordinated breeding programmes of endangered species (which may, in some cases, lead to reintroduction projects) but also by the development of technologies and professional training, by increasing scientific knowledge and public awareness of conservation issues and by fund-raising to support field projects. In the last five years alone, zoos in the Federation have supported over 70 conservation projects in 39 countries - hardly "ignoring the systematic destruction of animals in the wild".

Yours faithfully,

Peter J S Olney


Federation of Zoological Gardens of Great Britain and Ireland

London, NW1