Readers' letters: Edinburgh Zoo played a big role in giant panda care

I'm going to have to disagree with recent criticism of Edinburgh Zoo.

The practices of some zoos are questionable, particularly in the States, but Edinburgh Zoo and the RZSS have done the world a lot of good in terms of education and conservation, for instance they pledge to reverse the decline of at least 50 species by 2030.

As for the giant pandas, I do not understand why raising money for them is an issue, as it goes towards not only them, but it is reinvested into conservation in Scotland and worldwide, as well as being an opportunity for positive international relations and cooperation.

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The zoo has struggled during Covid and I think it is wonderful that they are allowing people a chance to be educated and see them up close. For children this could be a life-changing experience, for example 11-year-old Luciee Taylor (Evening News, February 20).

According to RZSS sources, the pandas, especially Yang Guang, do not mind people and this 'experience' would be a private one, and I believe no different to when the keepers leave bamboo in his enclosure or feed them a treat at the back of their den (which the public can’t see). These practices are already part of the pandas’ daily routine.

We've been lucky to have them in Edinburgh and as of 2021, giant pandas are no longer considered 'endangered' in the wild - not bad considering they were facing extinction 20 years ago. So perhaps all this conservation is a good thing, no?

Giles Barlow, Gloucestershire

Sturgeon has proved to be a serial failure

Mary Thomas (letters, 18 February) sees Nicola Sturgeon through nationalist tinted glasses.

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Sturgeon is a serial failure with a litany of broken promises. Nearly every policy area has gone backwards. Scotland has been badly let down.

What has happened during her eight years in charge? There is only limited space available, here are a few examples.

We have a more polarized and divided Scotland. Increase in disrespect for any opposing ideas with the First Minister “detesting” a large number of Scottish people; with gender reform opponents branded “racist and homophobic”; and mocking opponents following private conversations.

Unwilling to accept democracy. and that Scotland voted not to leave UK. Tried to destroy women’s rights. Failed at education and increased the attainment gap having to leave comparison tables. Increased class sizes. Lowered life expectation. Drugs deaths more than doubled, increasing every year.

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Increase in NHS waiting times. Increased income tax unless you are earning less than £28,000 where you are better off by 20p every three days. Failure to support business.

Reduced support for Scexit and left no path forward for Independence.

Unable to show enough competence to govern. FM misled parliament over Alex Salmond. The continuing ferry scandal and missing paperwork along with failing with Prestwick, Bi-Fab. and even running a Census was too much.

Failed in promise to upgrade the A9 and fix the Sheriffhall roundabout. A budget deficit of 12 per cent where the EU require no more than three per cent with the extra money showing no improvements in services. No way back to EU.

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Unlikely to fund a replaced eye hospital. Making a shambles of the bottle return scheme.

It's all best summed up by a quote from Donald Trump "The wonderful people of Scotland are much better off without Sturgeon in office.”

Alastair Murray, Edinburgh

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