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.