Letter: Wonder and joy at the zoo

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Sir: In defence of 'the egregious sophists of the London Zoo', I can offer Jan Morris two very good reasons for the continued existence of zoos (Letters, 2 January) - the wonderment and joy on the faces of our two young daughters, then four and two years old, when they visited the splendid Bristol Zoo last summer.

No amount of nature films or videos could have matched the immediacy of their experience of seeing and hearing (and smelling) live animals and birds at close quarters. Perhaps Ms Morris, as a travel journalist, has the opportunity of doing this on safari.

In the face of the ever-increasing vicariousness of the modern experience (virtual reality indeed]), we parents should be thankful that the opportunity still exists for our children to view the world and life around them other than through the dead eye of the cathode ray tube.

Yours faithfully,



2 January