Re: “Pandas? Zoo in Tacoma not thrilled by possibility” (TNT, 10/4).
How odd that the Washington Panda Foundation did not consult with the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium before launching its plan to fund the importing of pandas to Washington State. Sure, pandas are fuzzy and cute, especially when living in their native habitat, but fuzzy cuteness should not trigger fuzzy-headed thinking that panders to short-sighted economic and political actions.
The importation of high-maintenance exotic species to imprison for our viewing pleasure runs counter to contemporary best practices in environmental and zoological education. The proposal to import pandas simply needs to go away. The Washington Panda Foundation should change its mission.
Instead of using a million dollars a year to pay panda ransom to the Chinese government, let’s exploit our own species and develop a world class and sustainable student exchange program with our sister cities in Asia. Lincoln High School is currently celebrating the value of that very mission (TNT, 10/2 and 10/10). While students may not be as cute, they are far better ambassadors and investments.
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Certainly students are easier, cheaper and more satisfying to transport, house, and feed.