Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

March
6th

ZOO: No evidence of ‘fear and intimidation’

Re: “Send elephants to Tennessee sanctuary” (letter, 3-5).

I do not choose to enter the emotionally charged debate regarding the suitability of the elephant sanctuary in Tennessee for the two remaining female elephants at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. However, I am greatly disturbed by the characterization of their treatment at our local award-winning zoological institution as being “controlled by fear and intimidation.”

I have had close affiliation with the zoo for more than 15 years and had many opportunities to discuss animal care (including the elephants) with the zoo’s management team and staff biologists. This included behind-the-scenes observation of

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March
4th

ZOO: Send elephants to Tennessee sanctuary

Now that the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is planning to close its elephant exhibit and transfer its elephants to a larger zoo in Oklahoma, why doesn’t the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium do one better and send the two remaining elephants to the elephant sanctuary in Tennessee now before one of them dies?

This 2,700-acre site has been operating for more than 20 years, providing a forever home to circus and zoo elephants. Many were unhealthy and depressed, have been abused or were deemed dangerous. At the sanctuary, they thrive, joining herds and living the remainder of their lives with all

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Oct.
21st

ZOO: Elephants need more humane housing

Being a retired senior, I took advantage of a recent offer of free admission and took myself to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. It is our local jewel, and over the years I have spent hours and hours there. But this time I came away saddened.

The elephant exhibit left me as depressed as the two tenants therein - two bored, sad elephants in an area less than a half city block swaying with nothing to do. They were not even given the choice to go back into their sleep barn if they want to, as the door is closed to them.

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May
22nd

ZOO: Best wishes for E.T.’s recovery

Re: “Ailing walrus takes swim at aquarium” (TNT, 5-21).

Everyone in Tacoma must have their fingers and toes crossed for E.T. the walrus to get well.

E.T. put Tacoma on the map when he came to Tacoma from Alaska in August 1982. Tacoma was fortunate to have a new Rocky Shores exhibit and a leading-edge zoo director. With the arrival of E.T., Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium became one of only three zoos in the United States to have a walrus.

I was very lucky to have the opportunity to feed young E.T. from a bottle filled with cream,

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April
16th

TACOMA: Parks measure merits voter approval

As a proud Tacoma resident who’s passionate about our parks system, I echo the sentiment expressed in your April 6 editorial and would also like to voice my enthusiastic support for approval of Metro Parks’ Proposition 1, the bond measure on the April 22 ballot for parks improvements and safety upgrades.

Our treasured parks system is more than a century old, and we need to continue preserving and investing in it so that we and future generations can enjoy this incredible resource. All neighborhood parks would see improvements and upgrades from the measure, and it would provide critical, additional

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April
14th

TACOMA: Pass bond issue for parks’ future

Tacoma has a joyous opportunity to make an investment in the future while honoring the rich legacy of conservation and education already established at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The time for action is now. Metro Parks Proposition 1 on the April 22 ballot needs voter approval.

Imagine a new aquarium in which you can see not only Northwest marine animals but also sea turtles, hammerhead sharks and other Pacific Rim species. Think of more space for polar bears and walruses where excited children can watch them from wonderful new vantage points. It’s all included Metro Parks Tacoma’s Proposition 1.

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Nov.
29th

ZOOLIGHTS: Tram could make event more accessible

Why does Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium not have trams (like Northwest Trek) to take small children, older people and those who can’t walk around to see the Zoolights?

I am 87 years old and unable to walk any distance, so I miss seeing the lights. Every year I hope to hear that the zoo has found a way of transporting people around the park.

May
6th

AQUARIUM: Touch tank puts stingrays at risk

Re: “New at Point Defiance: Touch tank of stingrays” (TNT, 5-4).

Encouraging visitors to harass and handle captive animals is reckless and cruel. By nature, stingrays shun human contact, but in touch tanks they have no chance to escape the constant onslaught of groping hands. The mortality rate for rays in these invasive tanks is staggeringly high.

It’s clear that the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s mission is more about giving visitors a cheap thrill than protecting animals.

(O’Connor is a staff writer with the PETA Foundation.)