Re: “As Seattle eyes new operations pact with Woodland Park Zoo, animal rights activists raise concerns” [Sept. 10, Local News]:

I, too, used to question keeping animals in zoos until I became a volunteer at Woodland Park. I was able to see firsthand the love and care given to each animal, from the smallest bug to the biggest bear. They are provided enrichment activities and the finest veterinary care. Specially designed shoes enabled our young giraffe to walk, and my friend’s well-known doctor was called in to give a second opinion on one of our orangutan’s care. Each penguin is known by name and how many fish they eat in any one day.

As you hear the amazement of young and old, seeing the brilliance of a bird’s feathers or the size of the hippos, you realize that these animals are true ambassadors. A portion of each ticket goes to local and worldwide conservation. Perhaps naysayers should spend a shift with volunteers to watch and listen to the joy and surprise of kids as they hear the siamangs sing swinging from high in a canopy or watch gorillas gobble organic rose petals like they were popcorn.

During this time of climate change and extinction, we need accredited zoos to educate and promote the sacredness of our animals and their ecosystems.

Kathy Parker, Burien