With excellent wildlife TV, no need to confine animals

Tina the elephant, at Belfast Zoo
Tina the elephant, at Belfast Zoo

I refer to the recent death of Tina the elephant (pictured above) at Belfast zoo.

In 1975 I took my young son and daughter for a day outing to the zoo.

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

We watched the big cats pacing endlessly up and down the confines of their cages.

This seemed to be abnormal behaviour indicative of their captivity.

My most haunting memory of that visit was of Tina the elephant standing in her barren compound shaking her head from side to side and rocking from one foot to the other whilst remaining in a static standing position.

This poor animal appeared to be in a stressed state as a result of her imposed captivity. That recollection of Tina has remained as a haunting image over the years.

I resolved that day never again to visit any place where animals are held captive.

When so many excellent wildlife programmes are available to watch and enjoy wildlife in their free natural environment then surely there is a humane moral understanding that to condemn intelligent animals to confined captivity irrespective of how well the staff involved feel for their welfare is not defensible in the 21st century.

Gerry Cupples, Belfast BT5