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Celebrity should visit our zoo

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Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

This letter is in reply to “Actress pleads for city to release zoo’s bears,” by Jeff Tucker, in the Aug. 16 edition of the RDR.

This article that addresses PETA as well as city concerns was well presented. And, yes, it would even be nice if celebrities would visit the zoo they criticize just to save themselves embarrassment.
The zoo does need upgrades but these do not need to be huge expenditures. Improvements by the city would very likely go well beyond what the federal enforcement agency, USDA would require, especially in the hands of a cadre of deeply caring employees.
The offer of $10,000 would not a new cougar enclosure make. Any attempt to create something for cougars with that minimal expenditure could not hope to pass USDA standards, let alone meet the higher standards of the Spring River Zoo and expectations of its visitors.
I went to the zoo yesterday to see the “bald spots” on the bears. In fact, I was not surprised to see that any hair-worn spots from last spring — which happens all bears, captive or wild, during hibernation — were gone. In fact, I was impressed with the superior quality of the hair coat of the bears even at a distance. And, they were quite active; there was nothing stereotypical in their behavior.

Given the above, should any transfer of the bears actually take place, a responsible, preliminary step for the city would be to inspect the proposed sanctuary to assess its suitability to accommodate the bears. We would not want to place our animals in a “step-down” facility, especially one not inspected by USDA.
As for the zoo being a “roadside zoo,” I have not seen that term defined by anyone. The accompanying clarifier in the article clarifies nothing. The animals are not located where passing motorists can see them, for example.
We do, however, want people to come to the zoo to see the animals; that’s what the zoo is there for. Any zoo — every zoo — is a “roadside zoo” (even Busch Garden and Disney’s Animal Kingdom) until a suitable definition has been provided.
Otherwise, the information for the article was very well presented.
Ray Pawley
Arabela