January 17

Regarding Diana Hellinger’s Jan. 17 letter about members of Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) getting special viewings of the baby panda [“What’s on display at the National Zoo? Elitism.”]:

Ms. Hellinger has been walking the zoo grounds since 1984, the year I joined FONZ, soon after graduating from college. The zoo was my favorite place as a child and the reason I majored in biology. I joined not to be elite but to be more involved with animal education programs and volunteer experiences.

But, fear not. Bao Bao has no concept of it. I went to visit her last week with a friend. We were there for more than two hours, but she did not come out before we had to leave. I will not get back to the zoo for a few months. I will be in the crowd with the “non-elite” panda fans.

Heli Darlington, Alexandria