PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 January, 2008, 12:00am

Should the zoo's last jaguar be replaced when it dies?

Like many other Hong Kong residents I have been a frequent visitor to the jaguar enclosure at the Zoological and Botanical Gardens. When I first met the adult pair they were raising a family in an old-fashioned concrete menagerie cage.

As soon as the children were no longer in the cute stage, they were sent off to the Guangzhou zoo.

One was moved to Nanning and died of a diarrhoeal illness and the other one is still in Guangzhou, living a life of misery in an exposed and featureless concrete box.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department built the parents a new enclosure with the idea of breeding more cute little jaguars, ostensibly for conservation.

Fortunately, the mother jaguar had a miscarriage and was then unable to conceive, otherwise there would be still more jaguars destined for miserable lives behind bars.

It should be noted that in the wild these shy and magnificent animals may roam up to 100km in a day.

It is disgraceful that the authorities are even considering bringing another big cat into these cramped conditions to be gawped at all day by humans.

Some idiot will probably write in pointing out that our jaguar enclosure is bigger than the average Hong Kong apartment.

True, but we humans are not locked in our apartments and we don't have such high exercise needs. Hong Kong does not have the space for a zoo.

No more animals should be brought in and those already here should not be bred, and should be allowed to live out their natural lives.

Then the botanical gardens can revert to its former glory without the blight of concrete and iron cages and miserable animals.

John Wedderburn, Lamma

I do not think the zoo should replace the ageing jaguar Siu Fa when she dies.

I am not convinced that another jaguar (or pair) could have offspring under these conditions and they would just be there for people to look at.

It seems to me that the money spent purchasing and looking after another jaguar could be better spent helping programmes aimed at protecting these animals in their natural habitat.

Do the people of Hong Kong really need another jaguar in the zoo?

Fiona Shoon, Lam Tin

Is the sex education curriculum outdated?

I refer to the report 'Education on safe sex needed: poll' (January 29).

The US experiment of teaching sex education has resulted in more teen pregnancies outside marriage, more abortions and far more cases of sexually transmitted infections, none of which represents responsible sex.

Perhaps we can learn something from what has been largely the teaching of the mechanics of sex apart from the responsibility of one human being for another.

Safe sex can include the concept of recreational sex among people who gather casually. But if they are unaware of each other's sexual history and the relationship lasts for a short period, this rarely produces long-term benefits.

As we prepare young, single individuals to one day become loyal and caring parents, we should think about responsible sex, or maybe we'll just continue the mistakes of others.

Gordon Truscott, Yuen Long

On other matters ...

I refer to the Legislative Council minutes of a meeting of the public works subcommittee of the Finance Committee held on June 25, 2003.

Under the subject of site formation at Lung Wah Street, Kennedy Town, it was recorded that 'residents in the district had initially objected to the site formation ... as the works involved the levelling of a natural hillside into a building platform'.

The project was subsequently supported because the administration had given an 'assurance' that the site would be used for urban renewal in Western District by providing 'rehousing flats'.

These details were highlighted by the representatives of nearby residents in two letters, one before the education panel meeting on December 10, 2007, and another before the public works subcommittee of the Finance Committee on January 9, as grounds for opposition to the proposal of the University of Hong Kong to build student hostels on this same plot of land at Lung Wah Street.

However, the university proposal was still approved at both meetings.

While it was acknowledged that the two letters were received before these meetings, there has been no indication that the issue regarding the 2003 assurance given by the administration was discussed at these meetings.

Were the Legco members in these meetings aware of the 2003 assurance, and if so, was the issue discussed?

Could the relevant official explain, through this column, why the assurance made in 2003 is no longer being honoured, and why no explanation of this change of heart can be found in subsequent Legco minutes of meetings?

The assurance to use the plot solely for one purpose, and definitely not for the provision of university hostels, was given clearly as a 'promise' in exchange for Lung Wah Street residents lifting their objections to the site formation work.

Given that the Finance Committee will discuss the University of Hong Kong proposal tomorrow, where it could be approved, Legco members on the committee should ask that the 2003 assurance be upheld, or else many Lung Wah Street residents will feel that they have been cheated.

B. Yue, Kennedy Town

People enjoy a higher standard of living now in Hong Kong, than they did in the past.

This means that many Hong Kong people spend quite a lot on food in restaurants. However, they waste much of what is on their plates.

It is so frustrating to be in a restaurant and to see that so many diners have only half-finished their meals and left so much on their plates. It is such wasteful behaviour.

I wish people who do that would spare a thought for inhabitants of refugee camps and slums, who do not have enough to eat. There are millions of people in the world who suffer in this way.

I wish people would just be satisfied with what they have and order only what they know they will eat in a restaurant.

Also, the price of staple food, such as pork, vegetables and fish, is increasing.

We should appreciate what we have.

Kwok Sze-man, Tuen Mun