Belfast Zoo has evolved from being a 'peep show' to become a facility committed to conservation
letter of the day: BELLEVUE DEBATE
Given all the recent negative Press, I wanted to tell you that my six-year old son and I had another great day out at Belfast Zoo on Saturday.
As members of the zoo, we visit at least once, but often twice, a month and enjoy every visit.
We would encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the zoo, learn about animals and conservation and get some much-needed exercise.
I accept that, years ago, Belfast Zoo was a "peep show". But times have changed - and so has the zoo. It is now committed to conservation and plays an important role in numerous breeding programmes for endangered species.
The chairman of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria recently said that the city should be proud of the zoo, which has a magnificent animal collection that is extremely well kept and looked after by expert staff.
I have to say that the keepers at the zoo are excellent. They are always happy to answer questions and obviously care deeply about the animals in their care and about wildlife and conservation generally.
It is disgraceful the comments which have been made recently about the zoo and its staff by people who obviously haven't visited the zoo for years and definitely haven't spoken to any of the brilliant people who work there. Belfast Zoo is a great asset - not only to Belfast, but to Northern Ireland as a whole. As such, Belfast City Council (and, indeed, the Northern Ireland Executive) should prioritise further investment in the zoo.
As for Alderman McGimpsey, he is entitled to his views. My advice would be: if you don't like zoos, don't visit them, but don't try to deprive the majority of this wonderful experience.
If you haven't been recently, I recommend you pay Belfast Zoo a visit.
Bangor, Co Down