Crucial conservation message

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 August, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 August, 1996, 12:00am

I refer to the letter headlined 'Jaguar needs a new home', from Keith Hemshall (South China Morning Post, July 16), which crossed with my letter published two days later about the collection at the Zoological and Botanical Gardens (ZBG). I would like to take this opportunity to provide additional information.

The habitat for animals does differ considerably, but every attempt is made to replicate their natural environment in the enclosures at the ZBG. The present natural environment of the jaguar is generally under threat, and while there is an international effort to secure safe sanctuaries for them, many zoos are co-operating in a captive breeding programme to ensure that there will be sufficient jaguars to stock these animal reserves. Against this background, education on conservation in an urbanised city such as Hong Kong is especially important. In 1995, 13,000 students as well as many community groups participated in 400 guided tours that were conducted by us at the ZBG.

We are now confident that the jaguars will adapt quickly to their new enclosure and we will continue to do our best to convey the conservation message. Once again we thank Mr Hemshall for his interest in this matter.

H.S. PANNU Senior Staff Officer (Passive Amenities) Urban Services Department