Experiencing the real thing is what draws visitors in and fosters lasting connections [“Watoto’s death a wake-up call for city, Woodland Park Zoo,” Opinion, Aug. 25]. On a recent trip to the Woodland Park Zoo I learned about conservation programs the zoo supports — programs I was then inspired to contribute to. Being in the presence of the elephants was awe-inspiring.
The sad reality is that we may see the complete extinction of wild elephants within our lifetime. Sending these elephants to a sanctuary does nothing to help wild populations.
Zoos play a dynamic role in public education. Those who oppose the elephant program say there’s no data to suggest these elephants are having an impact on their visitors. This simply isn’t true.
The zoo has identified a plan to upgrade its exhibit and is committed to the well-being of these animals. There are so many ways zoos can design exhibits to maximize the ways their spaces are used in order to manage herds to increase physical activity, and meet behavioral and social needs. Seattle is known for its innovation. Why not engage local industry in collaborating with the zoo to create an exhibit that is so spectacular and technologically advanced that it become the industry standard? The benefits, educationally and economically, would be enormous.
Nick Visscher, Seattle