AS the father of young children I have been at Edinburgh Zoo many times over the last ten years. My initial misgivings about its work have morphed into disenchantment as I saw or heard about poor animal housing and security, management conflict and lack-lustre customer care.
Witness the cramped and decaying conditions for most of the big cats or the long-standing sea lion problem. Even the much-feted arrival of giant pandas is mired in trade-deals and a willingness to ignore human-rights abuses.
So when the zoo licence came up for renewal before the council I was keen to explore whether the zoo was on top of some of its problems.
Although the licence was granted, the institution was not exactly given a ringing endorsement by the Regulatory Committee and it is no coincidence that members of the committee have been invited to go and talk through plans on site in February.
I’d be delighted to hear from News readers with questions you want me to raise on that visit. There’s a fundamental question as to the role of zoos in 21st-century conservation work. Meanwhile, I recognise that we all have a duty to ensure the zoo meets the highest possible standards.
Gavin Corbett, Green Councillor for Fountainbridge, Craiglockhart
Poor care at NHS is nothing new
With regards to the NHS hospitals in Edinburgh, this scandal about care has been going on for years.
My mother took ill some ten years ago and we called the doctor. It was a locum who said that my mother was fine, but you could hear she had a bad chest.
A number of days later, we called our own doctor, who called an ambulance to take my mother to the Western General. This took five hours to arrive. Then my mother was put on a trolley for a further seven hours before she was seen by a doctor.
Some two weeks later, my mother was put in a room on her own. One day I went to visit, to find her on the floor. She had been there for some three hours. When I went to the desk for help, all the staff were round the desk talking.
KJ McIlroy, Dick Place, Edinburgh
Bad driving’s a Mound of trouble
is the bottom of The Mound the most dangerous crossing in Edinburgh?
I had two bad experiences there last month. The first was when I was waiting to cross the road to the German Market. The lights changed to red, the traffic stopped.
The red man still showed and fortunately no-one started to cross. Several seconds later, a cyclist came flying down The Mound, through the red lights, over Princes Street and up Hanover Street.
The second was when I wanted to cross to the Castle side. I noticed the green man was showing. People were already halfway over. I rushed to catch the green man.
Luckily for me, I looked to the right before I started to cross. A car sped round the corner, straight through the green man and up The Mound.
Janice Taylor, Carrick Knowe Rd, Edinburgh