1. Teri Byrd: _ I was a zoo and wildlife park employee for years. Both the wildlife park and zoo claimed to be operating for the benefit of the animals and for conservation purposes. This claim was false. Neither one of them actually participated in any contributions whose bottom line is much more important than the condition of the animals. Animals despise being captives in zoos. No matter how you enhance enclosures, they do not allow for freedom, a natural diet or adequate time for transparency with these institutions, and it's past time to eliminate zoos from our culture. Karen R. Sime: _ As a zoology professor, I agree with Emma Marris that zoo displays can be sad and cruel. But she underestimates the educational value of zoos. The zoology program at my university attracts students for whom zoo visits were the crucial formative experience that led them to major in biological sciences. These are mostly students who had no opportunity as children to travel to wilderness areas, wildlife refuges or national parks. Although good TV shows can help stir children's interest in conservation, they cannot replace the excitement of a zoo visit as an intense, immersive and interactive experience. Surely there must be some middle ground that balances zoos treatment of animals with their educational potential. Reg Newberry: _ Emma Marris's article is an insult and a disservice to the thousands of passionate who work tirelessly to improve the lives of animals and protect our planet. She uses outdated research and decades-old examples to undermine the noble mission of organization committed to connecting children to a world beyond their own. Zoos are at the forefront of conservation and constantly evolving to improve how thy care for animals and protect each species in its natural habitat. Are there tragedies? Of course. But they are the exception not the norm that Ms Marris implies A distressed animal in a zoo will get as good or better treatment than most of us at our local hospital. Dean Gallea _ As a fellow environmentalist animal-protection advocate and longtime vegetarian. I could properly be in the same camp as Emma Marris on the issue of zoos. But I believe that well-run zoos and the heroic animals that suffer their captivity so serve a higher purpose. Were it not for opportunities to observe these beautiful wild creatures close to home many more people would be driven by their fascination to travel to wild areas to seek out disturb and even hunt them down. Zoos are in that sense similar to natural history and archeology museums serving to satisfy our need for contact with these living creatures while leaving the vast majority undisturbed in their natural environments John Fraser _ Emma Marris selectively describes and misrepresents the findings of our research. Our studies focused on the impact of zoo experiences on how people think about themselves and nature and the data points extracted from our studies do not, in any way, discount what is learned in a zoo visitZoos, which spare no effort to take of animals, should not be subjected to unfair criticism.. Zoos are tools for thinking. Our research provides strong support for the value of zoos in connecting people with animals and with nature. Zoos provide a critical voice for conservation and environmental protection. They afford an opportunity for people from all backgrounds to encounter a range of animals from drone bees to springbok or salmon to better understand the natural world we live in.