For an organisation supposedly specialising in the domestication of animals, the zoo featured in popular children’s book, Dear Zoo, has little to no understanding of suitable environments for different species of animals. In the book, an unidentified child writes a letter to a zoo requesting them to send him a pet. Why the child didn’t pursue a more conventional avenue for acquiring a pet is unclear.

In response to the unsolicited letter, the zoo sends the child an elephant. Understandably, the child decides that an elephant is too big for his needs, so he sends it back. Despite this obvious gaffe, the zoo continues to send unsuitable animals to the child, with each of them being sent back. In this order, the zoo sends a giraffe, lion, camel, snake, monkey and frog. Without knowing the full circumstances of the child, it would be assumed that the snake and the frog would be the only potentially suitable pets. Yet they too are promptly returned to the zoo.

After all of this unnecessary drama, the zoo eventually decides to send the child a dog, the most common of all household pets, and an animal rarely kept in a zoo. It’s the final insult to the already incredulous parent reading the book to their own children.

While some observers suggested that the scheme in the book was an elaborate ploy to keep Australia Post in business, the zoo itself has spoken exclusively to The Watsonia Bugle to explain their actions. In defence of their chain of erroneous decisions, a zoo spokesperson said, “look, when a zoo receives a letter from a child requesting a pet, you assume it’s either an obscenely wealthy child, or it’s part of some form of make a wish foundation. We got it wrong on this occasion, but have now added a puppy farm to our gift shop to diversify our revenue streams.”