I could not agree more with Alyne Fortgang and Lisa Kane’s Op-Ed “Seattle’s zoo needs a new mission.”
I have not been to a zoo since 1995, when I could no longer handle the sadness I experienced watching magnificent wild animals caged and penned. After that I volunteered for many years until moving here last fall with the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, which is the country’s oldest and largest nonprofit sanctuary that rescues and provides a permanent home for large and small carnivores and omnivores. In doing so, I learned about the captive-wildlife crisis.
In the U.S., there are more than 20,000 lions and tigers in captivity outside the Association of Zoos and Aquariums zoo system. Seeing wild animals (all rescued from the U.S. and around the world) rehabilitated and living freely and naturally (except there is no breeding) on large-acre habitats at the sanctuary is a vastly different experience than seeing them at zoos.
I’d love to see the Woodland Park Zoo become a similar facility. Then we will teach compassion along with exhibiting wildlife.
Bonnie Mandell-Rice, Seattle