Letter: Tiger Week: a role for zoos to play

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Sir: The objective of Tiger Week is to protect and maintain the wild tiger populations and Peter Lawton ("Tyger Tyger, dying out", 29 May) appears to be missing the point; that without the support of society his work in the wild will not succeed. Zoos in India and throughout the world have a role to play in educating society on the need for conservation and the tigers in zoos are an important part of that process, acting as ambassadors for their species.

Add to this the acknowledged plight of the tiger in the wild, with some species below what is considered to be the minimum number required to maintain a genetically viable population and the need for captive breeding becomes obvious. With numbers so low I consider we are past the 11th hour and approaching one minute to midnight; the tiger needs all the help it can get, including captive breeding. Let us not be diverted from the best means for success by the personal likes and dislikes of individuals. Extinction is forever and such mistakes cannot be rectified.

P M C STEVENS

Executive Director

Paignton Zoo

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