Zoo closure a wise decision

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 March, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 March, 1993, 12:00am

I WOULD like to respond to Mr Mark Carden's letter (South China Morning Post, March 1), regarding Lai Chi Kok Zoo, by referring him to an article which appeared in the Post of January 20, announcing the zoo's imminent closure.

Over the years, animal welfare groups including Zoocheck, the RSPCA and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) have seriously questioned the conditions of this zoo and are now relieved that Mr Chiu, the zoo's owner, has made this wise decision. At the time of the announcement, Mr Chiu requested help from all the groups concerned and naturally we would be pleased to offer any assistance in working to his declared time-scale of six months in an effort to house all the animals in a more suitable environment than that which they currently endure.

In the meantime, there are many zoos across the world with animals in miserable conditions which profess to ''educate'' the public. Nowadays, there can be no educational value in witnessing the stress of wild animals as they exhibit stereotyped, repetitive behaviour, pacing back and forth in pathetically small, concrete cages. Wild animals can never thrive in such an unnatural environment and the time must come when the only justifiable sanctuaries will be those which are able to naturally house truly endangered species in an effort to foster breeding and thus prevent their certain extinction. The educational aspect will then be served from more humane sources, such as books and videos, or the alternative, of people going to see these wild animals living freely where they unquestionably belong - in the wild.

JILL ROBINSON Asia Representative International Fund for Animal Welfare