for those fairly new to the forum, i think we have raised this point a few times before, about regional collection planning objectives. what i'd suggest is that anyone who has not yet viewed arazpa's homepage should do so, particularly the points about regional planning priorities. off the top of my head, the priorities are 1)threatened species, native or exotic 2)species present in the region in good numbers 3)species for which sound husbandry guidlines exist 4)species who represent an educational, special interest or advocacy value. a good place to go next would be the federal govt's. page, review the species list and the propose a sustainable, economically viable program that would ensure long-term growth and genetic persistence of as many species in the regions zoo's as you think we should have? genetic theory, limited capacity, genetic diversity, climate, budgets, overseas populations (why should we maintain a population of a species here when it is common overseas and represents no conservation value at all, if only education) are all factors that come in to this planning. i think australiasias zoos, whose genetic capacity for most exotic species is considered short term are best to continue doing what they already are and sticking to these principles. a number of programs, including cotton-top tamarin and african lions currently exceed targetted populations and are the beginning of more viable populations. if the space currently dedicated to all cats in australasias zoos focussed on (and eventually they will) just- african lions cheetahs sumatran and bengal tigers (lesser priority for major zoos) serval snow leopard fishing cat golden cat then think of how much easier it would be to manage these breeding programs. fewer animals would need to be imported, at huge cost from overseas to infuse fresh genes in to our populations because we would have more space to manage our animals, more options to hold on to animals, temporarily stall breeding and so forth. there are other examples, including auckland zoo relocating its chimps to hamilton zoo so it can focus its resources exclusively on orang conservation, and the earlier tension between wpz and rhino tag coordinator over indian rhino imports. also, as beautiful as species like jaguar and puma are, there are many of them in overseas zoos, in well coordinated programs. but there arent too many northern quolls in american zoos, nor are there breeding programs for our mulgarra, or kowarri-equally fascinating, equally threatened. rather than focussing on jaguar or puma, wouldnt it be great if australias zoos focussed on our own marsupial predators more-the ecological threats facing them immediately appreciated because they are australian. and finally, when it comes to exotic species, in my mind australaisan zoos (and in arazpa's mind too) should make asian species it first priority and we should foster inter-reginoal relationships with our japanese and seaza counterparts, just as we already do and in a manner similar to what exists with north american and latin american zoos. our next priority should be african animals-we have superb open range facilites, suitable climate and husbandary experince and expertise. and another point-this time on the asian elephants. the whole import saga has prompted alot of discussion but i would like to comment on the welfare bodies opposing comments, which as many of you would be aware, were less than watertight, as well as to pose a few questions. firstly, if the exhibits built by taronga and melbourne zoo were cruel and substandard, then why did they (welfare groups) argue for circus animals to be housed there. (this reminds me of the contradictory comments surrounding seaworlds polar shore exhibit, obviously a commercial venture-and one which welfare groups bitterly opposed and then, when it came time to send ping ping back, they accused seaworld of not doing enough to retain him, despite the fact that the gold coast "is no place for a polar bear) then, theres the point about jessica napier's (of mcleod's daughter's where she evidently learnt not only about sheep and cattle but also elephants too) ridiculous comments about the elephants, which were to the effect of 'wild beasts being torn from the rainforest'. in a later statement, though i cant remember if it were issued by the zoo or welfare groups, the animals were all said to be 'very used to be trucked around'. does this sound like a wild animal to you? and all were born in captivity too, albeit logging camps. thirdly, the welfare groups questioned the zoos commitment to conservation. this annoys me. i know elephants are big crowd pullers, and i know historically they have not bred well (no longer the case, it reminds me of te gorilla scenario in the 1960s who would also never breed). but can you name any other environmental agency in australia that receives as much publicity about wildlife conservation than zoos,or raise as much attention and awareness about these issues? next, why couldnt the welfare bodies pull out after they lost the trial the first time???????? instead, they prolong the holding of the animals in what they would lead you to be cruel conditions (facilities the zoos have donated to thai universities), all at the cost to taronga and melbourne zoo, eating up their budget(money which they could have donated to the conservation projects, money which im sure the welfare agencies cannot afford to produce). i would like to know why animal welfare dont campaign as actively and vocally everytime our australian zoos import truly wild rhinos from africa(though they did whinge about wpz black rhino originally-now celebrated as a succesful breeding program which it is)-could it be because the maligned people spearheading these campaigns dont find them as attractive???????? why not focus their campaiging more intensively on live export trade, or battery chickens, rodeos or stalled pigs??????????? they already have done great work in these areas though there is a long way to go-surely these cash strapped chairities would have got further in terms of outcomes by focussing on our domestic agricutural industries. im finished venting now-and im not apologising for being unashamedly pro-zoo!!! in this case, im all for it. i think at the end of the day, the balance tipped the right way. so bring on the elephants.