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King Tut Deserves Respect

November 12, 1987

I read with much interest Steven Rosen's article about how mourning Cincinnatians object to having their recently deceased, much-loved 38-year-old gorilla, King Tut, put on display in the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History ("L.A. Gorilla Megillah Leaves Cincinnati Sans Simian," Oct. 26).

One must have lived in Cincinnati as I did for 30 years to understand the deep affection Cincinnatians have for King Tut and other animal celebrities at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Take Penelope, for instance: Back in the '50s a group of Cincinnatians took a herd of Nubian goats to Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa. As a gift to Cincinnatians, Schweitzer gave them Penelope, a lowland gorilla, who became a productive mother of many of the baby gorillas born at the zoo. So many gorillas were born at the zoo that Cincinnati gained world fame and each offspring was considered special.

A few years ago the Cincinnati Zoo hit the headlines again with its successful breeding of white Bengal tigers. When, to raise money, two of these were sold to a Las Vegas promoter who planned to use them for entertainment purposes, there was an outcry from patrons.

Long before Marge Schott bought the Cincinnati Reds, she and her late husband bought Schottzie, an elephant, for the zoo. Did it surprise Cincinnatians to read in the local papers' society columns that Schottzie was the guest of honor at a party at their Indian Hill estate? Of course not.

As for King Tut . . . if and when he goes on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, I'm sure he'll have visitors. There would be many Midwestern tourists who would rather see old King Tut than some actor's footprints cast in cement.

EPH ROBECK

Laguna Hills

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