With animal species dying out from the onslaught of human habitat, some of the most valued survive only in zoos -- in fortunate cases, to be reintroduced into the wild. But that can continue to happen only if the world's zoos, themselves an endangered species, survive.
One of the oldest (1828), largest (8,000 animals) and most famous, the London Zoo in Regent's Park, has decided to close in September 1992 if the British government or private philanthropy do not fork over $21 million to save it.
Its death, and the scattering or slaughter of its residents, would be a blow not only to the millions of animal-lovers in the south of England, but to the cause of wildlife itself. Prime Minister John Major is struggling to shake off a milk-toast image and restore the sagging Conservative government's fortunes before the election that must come by next year. Himself endangered, he cannot survive a label as the beast who killed the London Zoo.