Sunday, March 18, 2018

SFZoo Stop Collecting Animals You Have No Place For! - Like the Poor Fossa!

The title of this post pertains to a few Animals over the years, but the catalyst is one new species, that I can no longer say is a recent, Acquistion.  I've been trying to write this post for eight months, which is when I found out the Zoo brought in a pair of Fossa, with no place to house them.  As of this writing, they have been at the Zoo at the very least nine months.  They allegedly lived in Quarentine for several months, before moving into an off exhibit Small Primate Holding area.  Let's just call it what it is, its a damn cage.  

This is so upsetting.  I have to tell you right now, I am what, one paragraph into this and my ears are pulsating I'm so upset by this.  This will soon escalate to anxiety and this is why its difficult for me to keep writing posts that are not about the warm and fuzzy side of the SFZoo.  I continue only because I need to document stuff as a Voice for these Animals. 

So, back to the cages.  In November, I went on the Zoo's Bird Walk for the first time.  I had heard that the Fossa were moved into those cages, so when the Bird Walk took the turn to that off exhibit area, I was excited to possibly get a glimpse of them.  I had not seen the state of those cages since they were on actual exhibit, probably more than twenty years ago.  When I saw the Fossa, the happy and excitement turned to sadness, at the size and near barren cage.  Knowing this was possibly their destiny for at least another year or more, I just felt sick.  I know the Keepers are trying to add enriching items to the cage, but let's not sugar coat this, these poor Animals should have never come here, with no housing in place. 

 I don't know if they have access 
to both these cages or just the one 
on the right, closest to the camera.

Some back story.  Last year, I was pitching an idea for the meeting space in the Primate Center.  A few weeks later, the person I pitched it to, told me idea can't be used for that space because a Donor wanted to bring in another species from Madagascar.  They donated funds to build an exhibit in that space.  This was around the time when ground broke for the Chimp Expansion and way before they started on the Komodo Dragon's new home. 

In July, someone mentioned to me that we had Fossa.  I was very happy to hear this.  Had no idea since I don't keep up with the Joint Zoo Agenda, as something in it usually is upsetting, I only check it out every few months.  I have always loved Fossa, but never saw one in person.  I asked where they were going, and was told a place was being built in the Primate Center.  

Hold everything, so a Donor hands over Money, says get this Animal, and the Zoo gets it, with no appropriate housing for it.  I can't even with how awful that is.  Maybe this is a regular practise, but I think its very questionable as to why these poor Animals had to be transferred before housing was available for them.  No one seems to know.  And even if they did, I don't care.  These Animals should be living in a better environment.  If the SFZoo couldn't provide that and they had to leave their former home for some reason, then an alternate place for them needed to be found until their home was built for them.  There is no reason they should be living in a cage for nine months and who knows how much longer.  Unexcusable.  As much as I'd love to know Fossa, I do not think these poor Beings should be here at this time. 

The Zoo makes a big deal about Wellness.  They pat themselves on the back for it every chance they get.  I do not think these living conditions are considered in good Wellness practice.  Only one person I have talked to about this thinks this is ok.  This person is on Management level Animal Staff, and I was quite surprised that this person thought these living conditioins were ok.  Everyone else, both those I know there and other visitors I know think this is Shameful and rightfully so.  

Meet Dorian and Violet, the male/female pair came to SF from Denver.  They are an established pair, having successfully produced offspring.  

Here is a video of Dorian when he debuted at the Denver Zoo.

Screencap of the video, since some might not watch
and many have asked me, What's a Fossa?

Here is a link to photos of Violet and their first babie.

These are the faces of the two Beings that are living in cages.  Unacceptable. 

I've been posting alot about the recent build of the Komodo Dragon's new home.  I'm putting forth this idea, so this never happens again.

The Komodo Dragon home is in the old Tapir exhibit area.  Next to that between it and the Asian Rhino, there is another unused exhibit.  Something needs to be done with that space.   It was used to house the Sea Lions the last time their pool needed painting.  It is usable and should be built out as a holding space.  It doesn't need to Species specific, it needs proper multi-purpose landscaping and to be enclosed.  That bare minimum would be 1000x better than those damn cages!  

The Komodo build took four months. This would take less and get those poor Animals out of those cages.  I can't even believe the AZA allowed this.  Well maybe I can.  I don't have faith in them as a governing authority at all.   Does the Donor know?  Does the Donor care?   Its all very upsetting.  San Francisco Zoo, you NEED to do something to fix this situation!

I think my first thought about this stems from my love for our Chimps.  Its been ten years now, but when I started visiting the Zoo more regularly and learning more about the Animals as individuals, from Keepers and through my own online research.  That research turned up articles pertaining to the Chimps being promised a new home in 1997.  They never got a new home.  They will get an expansion, that will allow them environmental and social enrichment.  They waited 21 years.  ...  The Komodo Dragon had to wait 4 years.  ... It seems the Fossa will be at the 2+ year wait if construction on their proposed home even starts by fall of this year.  Who knows how long these next Animals will have to wait. 

Let's also talk about the Condors.  Yes we have two now.  Anyone ever wonder what happened to Claudia who lived at the Puente?  I think I wrote about it, or maybe its just swirled in my mind the past year.  So Claudia the Andean Condor, came to SF from New Jersey.  The SFZoo was supposed to provide her with a temporary home until her new home within the Turtle Back Zoo that she called home, was built.  When it was built, Claudia was supposed to go back home to her brand new enclosure and get a mate.  Imagine my surprise when after she was here a couple months, her name, like all the rest of the Animals, was auctioned off at the Zoo's annual fundrasier ZooFest.  Very curious!?  

Claudia is awesome.  She was hatched in 1985, making her 31 years old when she arrived at in SF.  I love this Lady, who by the way knows her name!  and I miss seeing her.  She was hand raised and imprinted on Humans, so enjoys the social aspect of meeting Visitors.  There was a problem with someone continually feeding her and in a dangerous way, but that wasn't handled as it should have been and it became a repeat situation. The only good thing that has come from her being off exhibit is she is safe. 

The story continues and goes something like this.  Allegedly, SFZoo Director Peterson, convinced the AZA/SSP to not only let Claudia stay in SF, but to send her proposed mate here as well!  Turtle Back Zoo found out after the fact and were surprised that Claudia would not be returning back home to her new enclosure that was build FOR HER!  As much as I love Claudia, and would be sad to not see her, that was her home and she should have been able to go back there.  So, the male gets to SF and Claudia is taken off exhibit, denying her social enrichment, to go meet her new beau.  Having never been near another Condor, its not even certain an imprinted, 31 year old Claudia will even want to mate.  The two were eventually moved to the off exhibit FCC (Feline Conservation Center) where for over a year now they still live mesh to mesh, with it uncertain when and if they will ever meet without a barrier between them.  They will continue to live there indefinitely because surprise, the Zoo had to have them, even though they have no public enclosure for them. I have heard rumor that they want to build something for them next to Tropical Aviary, where they put that stupid ropes course they spent money on.  Who knows when that will happen.  Who's in the queue first, Condors or Fossa? Anyway, til then, FCC is not the pit those Fossa cages are, but still for an imprinted Bird like Claudia being in public might be good for her.  That said, I'm fine with them being off exhibit, at least they are in a nice space, its just the whole alleged story behind the Acquisition that saddens me. 

I certainly hope there is a plan in place to start on something for these Fossa asap!  now that Komodo Dragon home is done.  I'm not sure the Primate Building location is a decent one, but who knows.  What I do know is to continue to keep these Animals in this living situation, is not good Wellness practice.  

Chimpanzee Expansion - Another Update!

I started this two weeks ago, but actually glad I didn't get the energy for it til now.  This Month's Joint Zoo Committee Meeting Document in regard to Acquisitions, notates information on our new Male Chimpanzee!  So together with the two Females noted in my previous post about the Chimps, we now have information on our three new Chimps! 

Week before last, I also made this video.  Shows a bit of the SkyTrail progress, but what I love is the chat I had with Minne and Cobby.  They probably can't hear me, and who knows if the could or would even know what I'm talking about, but I love talking to the Zoo Friends.  Here I'm telling them all about the exciting times ahead for them!

It was several weeks ago now that I started to work on the few posts that I had in current draft form.  I thought since writing about the Zoo takes alot out of me, I'd get those out and then be done for awhile, maybe just writing about a new topic here and there.  I started with the fun stuff, about the Komodo and Chimp's new enclosures.  I didn't even get to the tough one, when things came my way and I started thinking about a few posts I had back-burnered and wasn't even going to continue working on.  Gotta say, they are nagging at me and I may end up randomly finishing and posting them.

Since my last post, I have another Update on the Chimpanzee Expansion Project.  Its moving along pretty fast, progress each day I visit.  I made a few more videos, but decided except for the one above, they were too much like my others, construction info and my personal ideas on further use of space.  I tried to illustrate visually all the things the could happen with the surrounding areas available.  It got overwhelming as thoughts continue to come to mind, in regard to ideas based on how I'm viewing the logistics of the situation.  I think rather than use multiple videos, I'll just try to write it out and use previous videos of area I'm referring to as the visual.   Who knows, most  readers might consider this just a rambling of ideas, and it pretty much is.  But, I'm always thinking about how the Zoo can improve, so why not put it all down.  Maybe it will spark an idea in the minds of Management. 

So many thoughts about the future of the "Great Ape Passage"  that will soon start with the opening of the Chimpanzee Expansion.  What I'm basically trying to figure out is how the current Chimp enclosure, the Triple Grotto will eventually be renovated.  When the current expansion in the Pachyderm Building is completed, there will be a new indoor night quarters with six bedrooms, to accommodate our current three Chimps and the three new Chimps.  There will be an indoor playroom, and an outdoor yard.  These areas will be connected to the Triple Grotto.  By connecting, what I have now heard will be two Skytrails (the second one going from the South Grotto to the new side yard), there must be a commitment to at least keep the current Triple Grotto House in any future plans?   

The future of this area does seem to have a big ? mark on it.  Three years ago Director Peterson put forth photos that showed a definite plan to bring in Orangutans for the area that is currently the Triple Grotto.  Those plans were drawn up under the assumption that Director Peterson's plan to kick out our Precious Senior Chimps would succeed.  

I don't know what the timeline is for acquiring Orangutans.  My calculations are at least 2-4 years.  For one, nothing can be done to manage another Great Ape Species in that area until renovation of Triple Grotto or build of another enclosure takes place.  And most important, nothing can be done until our current three Chimps are fully introduced and integrated with the three new Chimps.  Chimp introduction could take years.  How big the new side yard will be, is another important factor, but from my calculations, using the Pachyderm expansion as the only Chimp habitat during a project that would put the Triple Grotto out of commission, doesn't seem right.  Guess it will be a wait and see what space the expansion provides. 

I don't know if those original project plans are being followed, but if so, again it would be pending size of expansion space, there might then be a need for an additional Chimp yard to be built before any Triple Grotto work can be done.  It appears to me the Chimps would need access to a larger space if the Triple Grotto was out of access.  Especially with six Chimps. 

I made a series of three videos in 2015, with some ideas for the expansion, past the Skytrail/Playroom project.  

Since I'm reaching back to 2015, I must mention something I read a few months ago.  Going back to that first evening, at the Joint Zoo Committee Meeting when it was announced the Chimps would be staying. Director Peterson pulled out this diagram for a Chimp Forest.  She mentioned it cost $10 Million and eluded that if not for the price tag it would be a consideration, if a lead donor came through.  Gotta say, I feel frauded.  I was recently researching something and came across a news article that mentioned the $10 Million Chimp Forest Project.  It would seem like she pulled out some old plans and presented it as a serious option if she met her fundraising goals.  At the time it was mentioned with the enthusiasm that the "biggest fundraising effort to date" was going to be an actual thing.  It never happened.  So even though, the proposed site for the Chimp Forest, through my own research,  was not a viable location for Primates, in relation to weather, because of its position near the beach, there was still the guise that a huge deal was about to be made to get the Chimps a new home.  I just wanted to document that because it really rubbed me the wrong way.  I would have preferred her just say, Chimps are staying and we are going to do everything we can to give them a more enriching life.  Provide them with more space, upgrade their current home, and social options.

I'm actually fine with there not having been a real plan to build a brand new enclosure.  Part of My Crusade to Save the Chimps, was because I felt they needed to stay in the only home they had ever known. I love what is being added with the SkyTrail and areas within and connected to the Pachyderm Building.  I think adding those Environmental Enrichment options to their lives while they are still allowed access to the familiarity of the Triple Grotto is the best thing for them.  At their age, I think too much change, especially all at once would be detrimental.  

So, back to what will happen next.  Who knows.  Will the Zoo go ahead and try to get Orangutans and rebuild the Triple Grotto for them?  Will there be another area for the Chimps during that time?  Would any new area built on that site be a rotating enclosure with the Chimps?  These are the things that I wonder about for the future.

The Zoo has proven to not have funding for huge projects.  They often don't even have funding for small projects. Aside from their fundraising abilities, its really disgusts me that in a City as rich as San Francisco, that there is virtually no City funding to even provide for upgrades.  What's wrong with this town?  

That all said, I am all for re-purposing old exhibits.  I have read and heard views where Zoo purists (the Zoo Chat forum is one) think the Zoo should knock down buildings and build fresh from the ground.  In my opinion that is a waste of time these Animals don't have, and money the Zoo doesn't have and probably never will.  The existing buildings and exhibit walls seem to be sturdy foundations, so why not use them.  These same Zoo purists have definite thoughts about what Animals they want and don't want.  It amazes me that a group of people so invested in Zoos (and this goes for not only these purists, but also the elitists within our Management/Society) who would ignore taking care at home first.  I've written this before, but you do right by those in your current care before bringing in new Beings to care for.  Sorry to digress but anytime I hear something related to this, its very upsetting.

So, back to my thoughts.  Some of the ideas that come to mind are similar to those you will see in one of those 2015 videos.  I talk about re-purposing the Triple Grotto.  I still think that's the best idea for renovation of that space.  There is so much unused topical space because of the moat.  I have always thought filling in the moat and glassing it in would be the best way to go to create more space, in the least expensive way.  Extending the topical space, would allow to keep the current familiar structures, as well as add in other landscape enrichment.  The three existing Grotto's could be one enclosure or it could be split, with the North and Middle, one enclosure, and the South and the cement walk area South of that, a second enclosure.  This way both Chimps and Orangutans can occupy that space.  The Chimps would have their night quarters in the Pachyderm Building and access to the Grotto's via the SkyTrail.  The Orangutans occupying the existing Chimp House.  There will be a SkyTrail connecting the new yard to the South Grotto, so interchanging the enclosures would also be an option.

So, back to wondering how work can be done on the Triple Grotto at all with only the Pachyderm area available to six Chimps.  There is still the North side of the Pachyderm Building.  There is indoor space, outdoor space at side of the building and the huge meadow area across the path, between the Binowee Aviary and the Food Depot.  Even if the Zoo didn't want to use anymore of the Pachyderm Building, that unused meadow area in my opinion is a prime location for an additional Ape Passage yard.  It could be built out while Triple Grotto still in use, and then used in place of it while under renovation.  After renovation, via SkyTrails it could be used for both Chimps and Orangutans.  I don't think building it out specifically for Orangutans would be doable, as a new "house" would have to be built then as well, adding to the price tag significantly.  But, a yard, totally doable. 

Seeing what they do next will be interesting.  I think there's a lot to consider, maybe even more than what I've currently thought about.  

I'm looking forward to Summer which is my estimate for this current stage to be finished.  I sure hope the Zoo documents and Shares! all the new experiences our Maggie, Minnie and Cobby will be having.   I want to see video of our Chimpers the first time they use the Skytrail!  The first time they explore the Playroom!  The first time they explore the new Yard!  The first time they see their new Friends!  It will be a long introduction process, so how will their first hellos be seen?  Will it be via howdy mesh?  Will it be via a window from across the path?  Will they wave to eachother from Grotto to Grotto?  I imagine this, assuming the new Chimps could go to North Grotto, while our current Chimps have access to Middle and South Grotto.   

I can't wait for them to have these new experiences.  I can't wait to meet their new Friends! It will be an exiciting time in all their lives and for those of us who have wanted this for them for so long.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Komodo Dragon - New Home Adventures!

Here's another look into Falcor the Komodo Dragon's life in his new home.  I will keep posting updates on his adventures and progress, now that he has space to enjoy his life.  It will do wonders for him to be able to excercise, and take part in enriching activities.  I'm just really happy for him.  I shed tears of joy, every time I see him in his new home.  I'm tearing now just writing about it.

Catching some sun from the skylight!

I've made a few new clips.  The first one is beyond cuteness!  I walked up in time to view Falcor getting brushed by his Keeper!  I had never seen this.  He was loving it so much!  Not sure who loved it more him or me!  So lucky to get to see this, and video a bit to share!

  Hey people where you going with that brush! 

Falcor Getting Brushed!

In the video you hear me mention the idea of having brushes for him to use himself.  I passed two brush ideas onto the Keeper.  Hopefully they will give it a try and see if he likes it.  I think he will.  Also after seeing Angelo/Anteater pick-up a pine cone and use it to scratch himself (amazing right?!  no video sorry), I'm going to suggest that too.  Like a branch with the cones attached would probably be good if that's something he can have don't see why not.

While I was there, one of his Sprinklers came on.  I was hoping to see this, as I had heard about it.  After I took this video, I clairifed how it works.  There are four Sprinklers in different areas of the enclosure.  When one is about to go one, a sound goes off to alert him a Sprinkler is going to come on.  Then a light will indicate which Sprinkler it is, so he can go to it if he wants.  Love it!  ... You will hear me say in the video that I think it should stay on longer.  That's because he doesn't have full power in his legs, so unless he's closer, he won't get to it in time.  He did seem to want to go to it, but when he decided to, it went off.   Keeper said that since there are multiple ones, that the timing isn't an issue.  Hopefully that is true, because he sure perked up and seemed like he was interested in it.


I apologize,  I know I repeat myself, but after watching him several days now in this enclosure, I feel even more strongly that my concerns have been valid.  He needed to have more room to exercise post surgery.  The Zoo indeed did him a disservice by not having him in a new home before his health issue presented, which was well within the time frame promised when he arrived. In my opinion his recuperation would have been more successful (time wise) if he was able to exercise on his own daily.  He probably would have regained use of his back left leg if he had more exercise over the past two years.  Having him in a tank basically with no place to really move around, meant he had his physical therapy sessions and that was it.  Once the assisted (Therapist and Keepers) exercise was over, he just sat there.  Two years of just sitting there. If he would have had more space, he could have been exercising his hind legs, by moving around on his own.  Very Sad.

This video is more cuteness and him motoring about his new home.  His back left leg is still not the strongest, so it drags a bit, but he's getting around!  I've seen him make use of all the heat lamps, and chase the sun that shines down through the skylight (another great aspect of this enclosure).  The glare was less in the morning so I took opportunity to show more of the size of the enclosure and the skylight.
You can see into the enclosure,
pretty good here.
Gives idea of size, as well
you can see the skylight.

New Home Adventures!

In one of the clips I was talking about the temperature.  I asked what temp it is in there, as well what temp it needs to be for him to go outside.  Info I should have already known, but because they held off putting him in the exhibit until the temperature was regulated, now it was on my mind to ask. ... Inside its kept at 98 degrees, but can range anywhere from 80-120.  It will need to be at least 60 degrees for him to use the outside yard.

I can also be heard saying that Komodo's are only found on the Island of Komodo in Indonesia.  I thought that's what I read at one point, but I looked it up just to confirm and found that they are actually found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Padar

Added 3.18.18  Uploaded yesterday, video of Falcor on his heated rock for the first time! For Video Updates, Subscribe or Check back to my YouTube Channel leo811sf, or Follow leo811 on Twitter.  

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Chimpanzee Expansion Update

Gosh I have been working on this all day long.  After going through my Chimp blog  looking for a couple photos, I got to reading through so many of my posts and have had an emotional afternoon.  I decided with the three year Chimp Save Anniversary tomorrow, I will write a separate post about that.

So for the updates!

I made a video a couple weeks ago
I uploaded and planned to post it last weekend and never got that far.  At this point they had not started to set the SkyTrail poles.  Update shows progress and thanks everyone for helping in my Crusade to Save Our Chimps.

I made another video with several clips from last week.  It shows a couple different view points.  Usually I have filmed from the Triple Grotto view, this one starts by showing the South side.  The area that is in the red circle on the map cap below.  

The photo below is added to the video, 
but I'm not sure how easy it will be to read, 
so including it here as well.

The update is really good!  I'm happy that a part of the original plan that was initially a wait and see if we are going to do it, has been approved and I was told recently added to the current project build!  Last week they broke ground on it!  It will be for an outdoor area along side of the Pachyderm Building.  If you are familiar, its where the old Black Swan enclosure was plus neighboring areas. The original finish date for the project, Indoor and SkyTrail was Spring.  I'm estimating a four month build like with Komodo Dragon, and hoping it will all be ready by Summer.

Here's my video of the Update for the described area and of the SkyTrail progress!  Poles and partial bottom have been set!                     

I don't read the Joint Zoo Committee Meeting Agendas or Minutes regularly anymore.  Mostly because there is usually something that will irritate me so I tend to do a catch-up every so often instead.  As the Chimp Expansion has progressed, I made a point to check the Documents a few weeks ago to see if any entry for Chimpanzee Acquisitions has been made.  I have asked a couple of people and everyone claims nothing is set yet, which is hard to believe.  In fact I asked someone this past week, after knowing this had already been published.  This is someone who was most likely at this very Meeting.  They said, "Not yet.  Build it and they will come."  I made some comment about It being a Dream (as in the Field of Dreams reference).  So I guess we are to keep on Dreaming?  Dream no further people, this is actually happening!  ... I did some research and it seems Zoo Miami may only have two females, named Samantha and Bubbles.  So, they may be our new girls!?

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Komodo Dragon In His New Home! - Falcor's So Happy! Video links!

 Falcor says, 
"I'm Finally Out of 
that Damn Terrarium"

The long awaited viewing of Falcor in his new home!

I don't think anyone can ever understand how happy I am to see Falcor in his new home!  This was yesterday (2.23.18) I cried then and again just putting together the video clips of seeing Falcor in his new home for the first time.  I love this little guy so much, and he waited so long.

This Babie has been at the Zoo since August 2013.  With a new home promised to him within a year and a half (before his health issue).  Its been a huge disrespect to this Being that he has had to live in an inappropriate home for so long.  An Animal his size should not be living in a Terrarium that is barely double the length of his body.  Shameful.  It will always break my heart that he had to be subjected to that.   I hope he will be so happy in his new home, he will forget being stuck in that awful tank.  I love Falcor and hope he thrives and grows big and strong in his new home.


Last weekend I posted two videos that I had planned to use in a post that I never got to.  Including them in this one.  

This video was taken several weeks ago.  ... Watching this and hearing my narration, I have to wonder WHY? was this enclosure even enclosed?  By that I mean why is it indoors?  He should have been able to look outside from the start.  This enclosure was a FAIL in every aspect.  This Precious Being was denied so much Enrichment in his life for years.  I never saw Enrichment inside his enclosure, except for a couple Halloween events, and he certainly was denied being able to have any visual Enrichment by not being able to see the outside world. 

Video showing addition of plastic plants to enclosure. Taken week of 2.12.18 ...

I have since talked to the Keeper about the choice of plastic plants.  Since I may have been judgmental, in this video, I thought would delete it and include an updated version, I decided to keep it and just add information, as I have not been the only one who was disturbed to see all the fake greenery, and won't be the last.  So, Falcor has been in the enclosure and has not tried to eat the plastic plants, which was a concern of mine.  I was told he wouldn't as they have no scent like any food he would eat.  There is one real plant and they are testing how plants will grow in the enclosure before putting more in.  That makes sense.  The plastic hanging Ivy was added to cover wiring.  I understand this line of thinking.  I still am not a fan of the choices. I would have kept the one real plant and that's it.  I really think the plastic plants at ground level are too much.  Maybe the ones away from the window would give a real appearance, but the ones on the log at the window are too much, too obvious and especially draw your attention to all the plastic. Maybe if those weren't there I wouldn't hate on the hanging Ivy, which in my opinion is overloaded.  Maybe a bit wouldn't be awful without all the other stuff, but all at once, its hard to embrace. But, everyone has different design ideas and preferences.   I can't nit pick at this too much because, at least he's out of that Terrarium!

I also heard a couple weeks ago, that there will be timed misters and heat rocks.  I don't know if they are already installed or not.  Sounds good!

I would like to see some grass in the outdoor area, since its sand both inside and out.  I asked about this and was told, they are trying to keep it native to the Island, that has no grass.  I haven't researched this, but there must be some kind of ground vegetation.   My opinion is that Zoo Animals are captive and any kind of Enrichment you can provide them should be provided and in this case, it would be nice if at least half that outdoor area had the option of grass. 

I took this video on Tuesday (2.20.18) about the glass glare, original exhibit design pertaining to that and a suggestion on fixing the problem.  ... 

You can see the glare is a Big problem.  Sad.  ...

So many people are coming to see Falcor!  More than ever!  So happy!  BUT Its hard to see into the exhibit.  Almost everyone has said something about the glare.  Everyone has to put their hands up to shield the reflection.  The whole window reflects theoutside. This really should have been taken care of before he got in there. Hopefully there's a plan to do something about it.  They build this great new home for him, people need to be able to see him! 

There were so many people that came by to see Falcor and were commenting on how much better this home is for him.  The Zoo failed him by not having this done within the original time frame they promised after first acquiring him.  Thankfully, this fail is in the past.

Previous Komodo Dragon of interest.  Contains history and journey to this point.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Falcor's New Home! - Photos and Video of New Komodo Dragon Home!

I'm FINALLY Getting A New Home!

I was so happy to hear Falcor's new home would be built in the old home of my precious beloved Zoo Friend Goober the Tapir.  I loved that guy and I love Falcor, so I'm very happy that Goobie can watch over Falcor.

I think originally a new space was going to be built out, but I'm glad they went this route. I'm a fan of repurposing areas and buildings that we already have.

For those that don't know, this blog (and my first one is named for Goober.  Too many people would call Goobie an Anteater, and I'd say to him something like, good grief Goob, they think you're an Anteater and he would say, I'm not an Anteater!  Gosh I miss that guy.

My Precious Goobie will be
watching over Precious Falcor :)
See Goober's Spirit Orb in the photo?!

I took photos every visit, so here's my attempt at a time lapse of the build.  It was quick, about four months.  First pix are of the outdoor yard and then the indoor space, followed by a video of the completed enclosure!  FINALLY!  Falcor's Appropriate Home!

Hopefully Falcor will move in soon, and this wonderful warm weather we've been having continues and he can make use of his outdoor yard!  So Happy for Falcor! He is going to have a wonderful Summer and Fall in that yard!  I don't mean to be picky but I hope there will eventually be some grass. ... His life is about to get so much better, shedding tears so I'll leave it at that!  

Please view the previous post about his wait for this new home.

Komodo Dragon to FINALLY Get An Appropriate Home!

So, yeah, this post has been in draft for well over a year.  So long, that I've had to change the title and direction a bit from, Why Hasn't the Komodo Dragon Gotten a Decent Home?, to Why Did It Take So Long For the Komodo Dragon to Get a Decent Home?  

As the Zoo prepares to move Falcor the Komodo Dragon into his new home, I feel like before all the patting on the back fanfare, I must document the history of this Animal's history since arriving in August of 2013.  I have written many posts about him, which you can find by searching this blog for "Falcor" or "Komodo Dragon".   

Last year as I started to organize all my notes for this post, I realized that the last time I posted about Falcor was almost two years ago (October 2015).  It made me sad that I have waited so long to be his voice again.  I feel like a failure that I didn't keep his story a HOT TOPIC.  I've said this before, but I don't think many realize how much it takes out of me to do some of these posts.  This is not something I enjoy.  In fact it makes me physically sick most of the time, but I just deal with it, because leaving the Animals I know and love voiceless, hurts me more.  I know the Zoo (Management) thinks I live to be critical of them, but I really don't.  I would love nothing more than to have the Zoo do right by the Animals, so I didn't constantly have to wonder Why they can't.  I'd love them to do the right thing in every sense, so I don't have to wonder Why they can't.  I would love nothing more than the Zoo to be all that it can be, for the Animals that call it home and for those of us who love the place.   I'm not alone in that wish. 

As someone who went to the New Orleans Zoo with the goal of seeing the Komodo Dragon, I was really happy that we were getting one and it goes without saying that I did my research in learning everything about little (not even two years old) Falcor before he even got here.  Once he did, I watched every move the SFZoo made with him. 

Falcor was hatched October 8, 2011 at Memphis Zoo, the first after a decade of trying.  Named by his Keepers after the iconic Dragon in the classic film The Neverending Story. I was told by the Memphis Zoo Staff that he knows and responds to his name.

He has been a joy to visit since day one and from day one, he has been disrespected by the San Francisco Zoo.  

Before Falcor even debuted he joined a long list of disrespected Residents, when Zoo Director Tanya Peterson auctioned off his name to the highest bidder.  I have written plenty about my distaste for this type of fundraising, in regards to Animals who have established names.  Even those who don't (SFZoo Born), there should be some guidelines of decency.  In short, I think names should be respected, and if auctioned off, original names should be used in house and donor names only for public purposes.  I'll stop at that for now, as I said, my feelings about this are well documented. 

When his new name was announced, I felt sick.  It was the most disrespectful to date.  In my post about it, I didn't hold back how I felt. I'm not going to repeat that now, as I don't want to bash the donor again, as he is the one who has funded Falcor's new home and I'm grateful someone has come through for him.  That said, I have changed my position on this a bit, oh don't get me wrong I hate the name more than ever, but I blame the Zoo more for not only allowing the name, but using it in part.  Anyone that knows the Komodo Dragon, knows his official name is now Big Daddy Bahasa.  A name I will Never use.  As I wrote in 2013 when this travesty happened, NO Animal should be named Big Daddy anything.  As well, Bahasa, while in the Komodo native language, literally means the word language.  So this poor Animal is named Big Daddy Language. Some Animals who have donor names, get their original names used in house, but that's rare and poor Falcor didn't get that respect.  So, a sweet little two year old Falcor, has since been called Big Daddy by Zoo Staff.  They couldn't even have the respect to call him Bahasa. ... I was in a discussion recently with a Staffer who agreed it was disrespectful and said "Big Daddy" sounds like an inappropriate term between a young female and old man.  I almost cried thinking about my precious little Friend and that awful moniker. 

Falcor debuted in late August 2013, at the re-purposed Binowee Landing exhibit, now named Komodo Alley.  Appropriately named as it was a short walk-thru corridor, enclosed in glass.  This would not be suitable for him for too long.  Thankfully it was reported from day one, that he was to get a new home built for him within a year and a half.  ... A promise that was never kept.  

Over the next year and a half I asked many times about when his new home would happen.  No one knew.  Seems plans were talked about, tabled, and veto'd.  No one can decide on plan, on space, and there wasn't even money for it. What?!  I was told when he got there, One Million had been donated to build him a home.  Where did that money go?  It surely could not have cost a Million to create the Alley.  Was there never really that amount?  Was there only funds donated to get him in the door?  Then what? .. At that year and a half mark, brought in a new and shiny pet for the Zoo, Red Panda.  The Red Panda not only got a new spacious home, and a tree house built by and featured on the tv show Tree House Masters.  After that, the Zoo staff built two additional mini tree house platforms.   ... Falcor continued to just sit in a Terrarium.

Falcor was not only quickly outgrowing the Terrarium, it had become a barren dirt pit.  When he first arrived it was lush with greenery.  Within a year, plant by plant, it became void of green.  I asked about this and was told it was hard to keep plants in there.  So what, not try?  Not continue to provide him with any landscaping?  As well, he used to love to be able to look outside and one of those windows where he could see other Animals was covered up.  I never saw him get Enrichment either.  His living situation was beyond sad.  Why was this Animal, that the Zoo had to have being disrespected like this?  Why wasn't fundraising for a new home a priority?  Was it even mentioned at the annual ZooFest?  

Falcor lived for a year in that barren dirt pit.  It wasn't until the Zoo had their AZA accreditation inspection in October 2015, did he get any greenery.  Shameful and they knew it, otherwise they wouldn't have rushed to make it appear like he was living in a greenery landscaped habitat the whole time.

January 2015 

October 2015 

In the beginning of 2015, Falcor started to develop a bump on his lower spine at the point where his tail starts.  I actually didn't notice it until it became obvious in the Spring, but you can see in the above video taken in January, that it was starting then.  I asked about it continually for months and was told "they" (Vets and Animal Staff Management) knew about it and were monitoring it.  Monitoring it, they call it, what they were doing was watching it grow.  By the end of Summer, it grew to be approximately three to four inches off his body.  They waited over six months and until he allegedly couldn't walk to finally do something about it.   I'm grateful that they did all that they did do to help him, but geez, it really should have been alot sooner.  I'm not the only one who thinks that.  ... There have even been some questions whether his health issue was a one off for a Komodo Dragon, or whether the size of his habitat stunted his bones natural growth?  Some have also wondered if a larger area to exercise if he wanted to move more wouldn't have been helpful in his rehabilitation mobility progress.

Here's the Zoo's video regarding his health issue and medical treatment.  I take the diagnosis as an alleged truth because of factors in question.  I truly don't think anyone will ever really know why his spine became unhealthy. 

So let's get back to that promise of a new home.  I've heard Staff make reference to him not getting a new home because it was wait and see regarding his health issue.  As stated in the video "future unknown".    Well, that doesn't add up for me.  If a new home as promised within year and a half, of his arrival in August 2013, had happened, that would have been early 2015, so construction plans would have had to start at least six months prior, that's Fall 2014, before the Zoo knew anything about his health issue.  So hello, at that point "future known"!  ... Remember at that point they had already moved on to a commitment for Red Panda.

What's been happening since his surgery in November 2015 and two years later.  Well, a whole lot of nothing with his living condition.  He still lives in that Terrarium.  Void of greenery.  He has been getting therapy, and there have been different alterations to his space, I assume to accommodate his mobility progress.  Still he should have had some greenery, and a new home by this point.

From January 2017  

In July 2017 I noticed a box outside the one window he can look out of.  

You can see its like a chute.  It appears to measure less than 2 ft wide and about seven ft long?  Allegedly it was so he can go outside.  GO OUTSIDE!?  So via a hole cut in the wall, he walks in and with no room to move around, just sits there in the sun?  Then they turn it around so he is facing the hole in the wall and he walks back into the Terrarium.  I could have just cried hearing that.  At the very least they could have made him a little yard right there, plenty of room.  As you can see the chute in the rear of this photo and all the space around it.  

Worse, one day soon after, I saw him paw at the hole in the wall that leads to the box outside.  

I teared up seeing that.   He craves the outdoors.  When I'm there and he's near the window facing the door, I always open the door for a few minutes and show him the outdoor world and he loves it.  Perks up and is interested, rather than just laying there with no stimulation. I've also seen him huddle into the one ray of sunshine that has come through his window.  So sad.  

Soon after discovering the chute, I heard they started taking him off exhibit, up to an outdoor area so he could go outside on a natural surface.  Hallelujah!  As much as I love visiting him, every time I see the rope up at his Terrarium, I'm happy that he is on his field trip.  I was told that he loves it there and is active!  He thrives on those trips.  I wish he could just stay up there off exhibit until he gets a new home.  But, I don't know the full set-up and there does need to be a temperature controlled indoor environment for him, as not all days are warm enough to be outside.  That said, I was there on one of the hottest days this fall, 93 degrees and he was not on his field trip.  I felt like crying. 

So I asked yet again and again through 2017, When will Falcor get his new home?  I continually asked and allegedly all the plans had been veto'd as too expensive.  Each time this made me mad.  Why?  Four years later and still there is no money raised?  WTH?  ...  Additionally, and this is just me, if I was Director and my salary was near half Million a year, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing an Animal I brought here was in inadequate living conditions.  This Animal has been in need for years.  Why wait for a Donor, was a Donor even being sought?  Is there a reason the Director can't donate to the cause?

By the end of Summer seemingly out of nowhere, word was construction would begin on Falcor's new home!  FINALLY!  He waited so long!  Not the Thirty Years those poor disrespected Chimps waited, but geez, he waited and has been long overdue for MORE room!  

Construction began in October and its been a quick build!  He should be in his new home very soon!

Please View the following post that has photos and video of his new home!