Zoo no place for pandas

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Gordon Brown may be giving his backing to Edinburgh Zoo displaying giant pandas, but it certainly will not save this endangered species from extinction (your report, 17 December).

Renting a pair of pandas from China could cost the zoo 6 million, on top of the cost of building an enclosure for them. Effective conservation involves the protection of natural habitats, something the Chinese authorities are already progressing with. Keeping the species in zoos is an expensive and dangerous diversion from that.

Sending pandas from China to overseas zoos is often criticised as having political rather than conservation motives. Next week, China will send a pair of pandas to Taiwan in a bid to strengthen diplomatic ties between the two countries. If Mr Brown is serious about protecting pandas, he should withdraw any support for UK zoos keeping this species again.

CRAIG REDMOND

Captive Animals' Protection Society

Manchester

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