Stoneham … Boston … they’ve enjoyed them both
Re “Does Greater Boston really need two zoos?” by Joan Vennochi (Opinion, May 23): Zoos link people with animals and with nature, provide an essential voice for conservation and environmental protection, and can be important educational tools.
But why two zoos? There have been many afternoons when my daughter and I decided to pop into the Stone Zoo in Stoneham for a quick visit. Maybe it was to see the black bears, Bubba and Smoky. Or maybe it was to see Blue, the cougar. An hour at the zoo, to see animals hanging out in the sun and people strolling leisurely, provided an opportunity to unwind and not deal with the hassles of rushing around.
On weekends, we would sometimes plan to go to the Franklin Park Zoo. Picking up nieces and nephews, we would make the trip to Boston and get to see a whole different set of animals in the Tropical Rain Forest and at what is now the Gorilla Grove. We would take our time, taking in sights and sounds. All of it was a completely different experience from the Stone Zoo.
Our two zoos allow visitors to connect with various animals in their own way, whether they bond with Little Joe, the gorilla at Franklin Park, or Singi, the yak at the Stone Zoo. People have their favorites at both zoos. I do too. It just depends on the zoo and the day.
Does Boston have to be the hub of everything?
The headline of Joan Vennochi’s column — “Does Greater Boston really need two zoos?” — is open-ended, but the implication seems clear from the piece that she leans toward Boston.
Why does everything have to be in Boston proper? The city’s population makes up less than 10 percent of the state as a whole, and is bound on one side by an entire ocean that precludes easy access. Why not argue for moving the larger zoo to Stoneham, closer to the major beltways and reachable by public transportation from “the hub of the universe”?
Why have any zoo? Free the animals from their misery.
Thanks for the column about the two Greater Boston zoos. My question is simply why have any zoo? I think in this era of online access and real-life filming of animals in their natural habitat, we do not need to imprison wild (or tame) animals. If one cages an animal that cannot be touched or petted or left to roam freely, and who has no companion for years on end, one consigns that creature to misery.
I say free the animals, return them to their natural homes, close the zoos, and show real humanity in this new age.
Online readers debate the question
The following is an edited sample of comments BostonGlobe.com readers posted on Joan Vennochi’s column “Does Greater Boston really need two zoos?”:
Before we debate closing one of two zoos, which provide inarguable benefits to the human public, especially children, and offer great jobs for people who have a passion for animals, can we instead debate maybe closing one of the more than 90 golf courses within 20 miles of Boston? Leave the zoos alone. (SartresWaiter)
The golf courses are for relatively affluent human animal adults who choose to use them, and who can afford to use them. The zoos incarcerate nonhuman animals who have no choice as to where they live, what they do, how they are used, and where they are taken into captivity and under what circumstances, and how their mates are selected, or not, and how they live their lives. (OccasionalWriter)
Do something about crime in Boston before you put schoolchildren in harm’s way. People don’t feel safe going to Franklin Park Zoo. (RSull)
I feel safe any time I visit Franklin Park Zoo and have no issues driving from any direction of the compass to get there. There are even night events at the zoo that folks have no problem attending. As for me, I am a zoo member and live in Dorchester. (mikegilbo)
Does Boston really need five sports teams? (CertainDeath)
Do we really need two daily newspapers? (TowardABetterWorld)