Edinburgh Zoo is a distinctive part of the city. So why is it being left to lurch into crisis?
Now, I cannot share in the apparent joy that two giant pandas are to come to the zoo later in the year. Nothing in international diplomacy is straightforward. Alex Salmond’s deal with the Chinese government which sees the pandas coming our way is tied in with a promise to double the quantity of farmed salmon going from Scotland to China but at what cost to our native wild salmon stocks? Not to mention the glee with which the Chinese have been able to use Scotland to cancel Norwegian trade in salmon, following that country’s awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissenter, Liu Xiaobo. Nice to know that our human rights standards can be bought and sold so cheaply.
So, I am dismayed at the apparent crisis engulfing the zoo, with two senior managers being suspended for undisclosed but apparently serious allegations and another having left recently. Such instability right at the top can do no good, for the zoo and its staff, but most of all for the animals that have no choice but to be there.
It seems that a number of members have demanded a special meeting, in a couple of weeks time, to try to get behind what is going on. In the meantime I hope that the City Council in its role as licensing authority is keeping a special eye on the impact on animal welfare.