Friday, December 28, 2012

Yet Another Lame Written News Article (KTVU) - Tiger Attack 2007

News article via Google News Alert for San Francisco Zoo.
 
 
I'm alittle tardy on posting this, but I wrote the majority of this post immeadiately after reading this article, which was the day after Christmas.  I wil also note that while most of my posts I try to write with some organization to how I present my thoughts and observations, I batted this one out from all that swirled in my mind at the time.  I no longer have time to edit and organize as much as I might like, but my point will always be made.
 
I apologize posting yet another article on the subject of the Christmas Day 2007 tragedy.  I would like not to dredge it up, but it seems like both the News Media and the San Francisco Zoo like to repeat broken details around this event for the sake of grabbing attention.  I say broken details because each time I read something about this event I get really worked up.  Getting worked up about things involving the Zoo is common for me since I care about the Animals and I despise bullshit.   It happened in the immeadiate aftermath, as I read every article I could printed about what happen, both crying for the soul of Tatiana and because she died for no reason.  It happened as I followed the case.  Reading nonsense from the general public blaming the Zoo for not containing her properly, when it was obvious a high energy provoking was the catalyst.  It happened when the Rec and Park allegedly forced the Director Manuel Molinendo to resign, shining the blame on him, therefore using him as the scapegoat to appease public naysayers.  It happen as I heard the Zoo accept reponcibility for something that was obviously not their fault.  And by accepting this responcibility, buckling to the Jones of society under the guise of being on the side of Humans regardless of their actions.  They let the boys responcible for this tragedy get a payout, money that was probably used to pay lawyers for their subsequent crime sprees.  It happens everytime one of these articles appears, written by journalists who apparently grab from previous information rather than doing a bit of investigating, instead of seeking actual new information as well as logical.  Good grief I write better (read more accurate) copy that those employed by News Media and the Zoo itself.   As well, Journalists, Reporters, the Recreation and Park Commission, and even the Members of the San Francisco Zoological Society, do not even care to educate themselves on what really goes on at the Zoo.  By simply doing an Internet search, they would come across a bounty of information within my blogs only.  Sadly for everyone, the Animals foremost, none of the so called News Media or Authority figures at the Zoo care enough to take any hard stance and see that changes for the better are done.   
 
This article's headline states the Zoo has made "crucial changes".  By upgrading the enclosure at the Big Cats, that is considered a crucial upgrade?  This really upsets me.  For one, the above referenced "nonsense" I read, a majority kept and still does reference the height of the wall at the Tiger enclosure.   Just like in this article.  The height I will note was a height that was accredited by the AZA.  A height that had a "reccommed" measurement, not a "required" measurement.  A use of terms I have ever seen accuratly discussed in any News Article or in Public Comment. 

The Big Cat enclosure upgrade noted was the only enclosure alteration in relation to the Tiger Event.  Only a few other upgrades were made afterward.  Prior to the Christmas event, there were alerations made within the Lion House. The feeding access caging was altered and the Visitor barrier moved back.  The "after" upgrade came just over two weeks later, when an alleged near escape of a Snow Leopard and a Polar Bear, shined more light on Zoo safety and prompted two of the Polar enclosures to gain added fencing.  From what I was told, both incidents were not as projected in the Media.
 
 As well if the Polar incident was indeed as detailed and an actual fear of escape was real, why was there never a fenced barrier of the like installed at the meadow grotto which both Polars share (located between the two enclosures) that did get the added barrier? 

The Zoo may have made little changes here and there in the past couple years (some coincidentially on the heels of stuff I've blogged about) but in no way have they made any major changes to deter misbehavior.  Up until about two years ago, their Emergency protocol was still a mess. That protocol was in part to blame for why Tatiana lost her life. 

In the past five years there have been two newsworthy instances involving the Grizzly Bears and the Black Rhinos.  On a daily basis, Visitors can be seen harrassing the Animals and/or breaching barriers.  I have seen this.  My friends have seen this.  Other Visitors have told me they've seen this.  I write about it and I know members of the Zoo Staff read my blogs.  Part of why they can't blame ignorance to these issues is why I post about it.  Read thru the archives from the past couple months, there are several posts about enclosure intrusion. 

So, that all said the Zoo has made little effort to deter this behavior, both in t he way of enclosure upgrades or with additional Security.  Once I became a more regular Visitor, I tried to provide this insight to the Director on many occasions.  That flow of information stopped when Director Peterson made the descision to use my friend Lee and I as scapegoats to cover-up the Zoo's faulty Security (take and) Dispatch of Emergency Calls.  She blamed us for calling in a prank call reporting someone over the barrier at Bears and then revoked our Memberships for almost a year.  Curiously this action coincided with the Zoo's upcoming AZA accreditation for Security practices. 
 
There continues to not be enough eyes and ears on the grounds who are sensitive to spotting misbehavior to curb these offences.  Yesterday (Thursday Dec. 27) was the first day after Christmas that it didn't rain.  The sun was out and the Zoo was packed.  There were two Security Guards working for the first half of the day.  I saw one in the Lion House and none monitoring the grounds. 

While at the Family Farm I saw a grown woman giving one of the Goats a lolipop and laughing.  If I hadn't said something, this could have gone very wrong and that Animal could have lost its life because of a stupid Human.  Maybe not as violent a death as Tatiana, but the end result the same, and the cause the same. 

This type of incident is not isolated.  I have found Silica pouches in two areas within the Zoo, near Animal enclosures.  I have heard that both the female Snow Leopard and one of the Sea Lions both ingested foreign objects that may or may not have been tossed into their enclosures by Visitors. 

These instances noted, sadly the Zoo chooses to spend money to build a new Playground for Humans instead of raising funds to make sure the Animals who live there are safe (not to mention living on natural surfaces RIP Wishbone). 

As well, THIS type of information I have put forth, is the kind of copy that should be taken on by real reporters.  They should be writing stories that ask the AZA (Association of Zoo's and Aquariums),  why Zoo's are allowed to continually build new exhibits before upgrading old ones, whether for safety or habitat issues, providing Animals with both a safe environment and a healthy one.  As well the same of the San Francisco Recreation and Park, and the San Francisco Zoological Soceity, in regards to our Zoo.

I will close with a couple other out of order comments.

I don't know how much the Zoo PR has to do with articles like this, but I do know they have in the past provided information to grab attention.  One specifically that I found in bad taste was their announcement of the arrival of the new female Siberian, Shastyuh.  As I wrote in my post, the Zoo picks and chooses which Animals to "promote", based on how much Media attention it can garner.  Because of the attention Tatiana got, Shastyuh should have been allowed to settle into the Zoo without hoopla AND without stupid comments from "Zoo officials,... the staff was ready and the grounds secured."  Sensationalized and Ridiculous.  

http://sanfranciscozoofails.blogspot.com/2011/06/zoo-officials-fumble-again.html

Oh and once again, the statue in Entry Village is not of Tatiana.  That is a Mountain Lion and was there before the Tiger Attack.  As part of the small group who donated to Tatiana's Memorial Bench, I was told that the Zoo had not planned to have a Memorial for her for some politically correct reason that to me was an act of cowardice.
 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

News Article - Looking Back at Tiger Event Christmas 2007

I woke up this morning to this article via a Google News Alert email.
 
 
I commented on the ABC site:  (Note that my comment was split into parts and ABC deleted all but the first part.  So I requested them delete the full post, since I find censoring public News forums in violation of the Constitution.)
 
As someone who is a frequent Zoo Visitor I remember this day well.  I was there.  Unfortunately not at the right time, as maybe I'd have seen the Dahliwals taunting the Animals and I would have said something that might have made them stop before this tragedy they allegedly caused.  I went a if route that day and was there earlier, possibly capturing the last photo of Tatiana at 2:48pm.  Happy and lounging in the sun with her companion Tony.  .. Yes the Zoo made changes to the Big Cat Grottos, but there is no such sign to not taunt the Tigers.  As well there are many other exhibits that leave the Animals vulnerable to Visitor harassment and stupidity, the later which could result in an event much like the one last month at the Pittsburgh Zoo.  In my opinion, the SFZoo and Zoo's in general have not made any changes in the past five years that keep up with the mounting acts of misbehavior of Visitors. 
 
Additionally, I will say in referenece to what is reported in this article, there are no specific signs that say not to taunt the Tigers.  In fact I recently witnessed a kid about to throw objects at one of the Tigers.  There are generic signs that request Visitors "Respect the Animals".   Althought these signs have become more plentiful, they are still not enough both in quantity and in words.  Visitor misbehavior is rampant, both in harassing the Animals and breaching barriers. 
 
As well, to my knowledge the only tribute to Tatiana at the Zoo is a bench that sits in front of the grotto she shared with her companion Tony.  The bench was purchased by a small group of her friends who were heartbroken that she lost her life defending her home and companion, because of alleged, yet apparent Visitor misbehavior.   That said, neither of the bronze statues at the entrance, are not of Tatiana, they are not even of Tigers.   I'd like to know where this rumor got started, as I've heard this before.  Writers these days do not seem to do any investigative reporting.
 
There's more I could say but won't.  Its Christmas and I'm sure there are innocent people who were affected by the acts of these three boys. 
 
 
RIP Tatiana
 
December 25, 2007  2:48pm
 
Two hours later Tatiana was dead.   Remember when visiting any Zoo, Act with Empathy.  Do not harrass, heckle, throw stuff at, mimic, or otherwise taunt that Beings that live there in captivity so that we can enjoy their beauty and learn about them.  As well, please report any misbehavior you witness and if you are able to, tell people yourself not to behave in such a way.  You might save a life.  There was reportedly a woman who saw the Dahliwals harrassing the Lions prior to the Tigers.   Tatiana might still be alive if she had reported this.

Inaugural Zoo Lights - Member Night

Had a great time at this event.  Unfortunately half the event was ruined by the weather.  The rain cleared by showtime, but Entry Village activites were still moved into the Great Hall.   I did hear that a big lighted display in the area by Penguins and Reindeer,  was knocked out of commission but would be in full swing once the rain cleared after Christmas.  
 
 
Bummer that the Christmas Tree lights were blown by the storm, I looked forward to seeing it lit as a kick off to this event.  I heard it looked beautiful during the test run.  Hope to see it lit soon and that the Zoo keeps it up even past the duration of this event.
 
Note the sign.  This was awesome!  The graphics were projected onto a blank white cut out.  There was a whole light show eventually projected as planned on to it.   It was shown initially inside on a screen, but once the mist cleared I was able to video it as it was intended!   I spoke to the guy who made this and donated his time and efforts as he told me "Its for the kids".  I think his name was Justin N.  Thank you, it was wonderful!
 
 
 

 
But the effort put forth by the decorating Staff deserves a kudo.  Some stuff that was viewable was out (half the Candy Cane Lane) but these awesome Lighted Animal Topiary were beautiful and the handiwork of Staffer Deb Howe.  I missed the Giraffe when I left because it started to rain and I forgot.  Hopefully I'll see the whole event before its run is done and I'll post more photos.
 
 
Rhino and Lion :)
 
 
I'm not sure what the costumed Christmas Trees did, I dind't see it, but I enjoyed their look and got Santa to pose behind them :)   Also on stage was Bob Weir and Jamie from Mythbusters.  Outside the Great Hall was a gal with live Bats!  They were gorgeous little things.  I love Bats!  Thank you to her for all the info and bringing her little friends out in the rain.   Also to a sweet Staffer (oh yes I did say that!) who gave us some complementry Hot Cocoa :) 
 
Cocoa in hand we walked up to the Primate Center and perfect timing to see our friend Dave, Keeper of the Squirrel Monkeys.  While chatting with him, his charges were very active and cool to watch as they ran back and forth thru their little heated huts and all you saw was their silohuettes against the orange background!   Check out the video :)
 
 
 
Gotta say, got nothing to complain about :) 
Fun time was had by all!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Ulu! - Polar Bear Birthday

Ulu turns 32 today!
 
Happy Birthday Ulu!

You are a Precious Sweet Girl
my Friend! XO!

 
Ulu holds the title for reaching the
National Milestone Age for a Polar in Captivity!
 
 
From Ulu's Party in 2008!  
She got a Stuffed Bunny!
The Polars, especially Ulu
love their Stuffies!

The Zoo gave both Pike and Ulu
Snow for their "Birthdays"
on November 15th.
view a few of my photos here:
http://iamnotananteater.blogspot.com/2012/11/polar-bears-get-snow-thursday-111512.html

Ulu is wild born
with a Birthday estimate of 12.19.80
& Pike was born at
the San Francisco Zoo on 11.25.82

See photos from Ulu's 30th Birthday Party!
My friend Lee and I
made Enrichment Toys for her :)

Learn more about Ulu here:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Visit December 17, 2012

Jahari heard our voices and looked up to say Hi! 
Hi handsome, nice to see your face!
 
 Niya sniffing at the "howdy" window as Shastyuh (Tiger) vocalizes in the yard next to her.   This window was boarded up when the Snow Leopards moved in, but was open for Padang and Tony who were great friends :)

Kai having a siesta his holiday decked out shelter :) 
Visit the Kune Kune Pigs at the Farm!

While I was there, the Christmas Tree arrived.  It was still being adjusted as I was leaving.   I'm told its not a living tree :(  Would have been nice considering the Zoo's Mission for Conservation, as Lee pointed out. ...  I love Christmas Trees, but have always hated how they are dressed up fancy, oohed and awwed at,  then raped of its deco's and tossed out to die on a street corner.  Makes me frown.

Well, I guess this is a start.  Interesting timing <grin>, since I had recently posted text and photos about barrier breaching, including this enclosure where the Black Rhinos live. 
 
 
Sadly, these signs (three along the Rhino barrier) are too small and are only at this one exhibit, not at the others I documented being breached.  ... It seems like once again I'm running the Zoo, although this time only Semi, since instead of taking things seriously, Management continues to do things half-assed.   But then, they do advertise Mediocrity.
 
 

Welcome! Three New Additions :)

There have been some new additions to the list of Zoo Friends :)

A few months ago the three Female Chacoan Peccaries got a boyfriend :)   I wanted to make this post with a photo, but I still haven't been able to tell which one he is to accurately capture him  ;(   I can tell you, his name is Habenero!  I got his info when he arrived, so I hope I remember correctly (if not I will update), but I believe he is ten years old and came from the Hogle Zoo.   Hopefully he will be spicing things up and there will be babie peccaries at some point!   Welcome Habenero!

I don't think I did a welcome for the Male Greater Kudu who has been here at least the nine months it takes to gestate a calf, since he is the Father of the next welcome :)   This is Jack!  Jack came to the Zoo from Safari West.



On November 18th a female Greater Kudu gave birth and last Friday it ventured out of the barn for the first time! Yesterday I got some pretty cute captures of the little thing with its Mama and meeting new friends on the Savannah!    Welcome Kudu Calf!

 Babie and Mama
 
 Meeting a Marabou Stork

 Meeting Bititi the Giraffe

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Goober is Mr August! - World Tapir Day 2013 Calendar!


Precious Goobie
Mr August!

Yippee!   My beloved Goober is now 
Mr August in World Tapir Day's 
hot off the presses 2013 Wall Calendar!


Please use this link when ordering.  All proceeds go to helping Tapirs in the wild and using the direct link will ensure that the World Tapir Day organization gets the fullest commission on items sold.

Thank you to Anthony at World Tapir Day for wanting to include Goober!   for choosing to use one of my treasured photos of Goob, for taking my suggestion to make him Mr August since that was his Birth Month :)  and for loving Goober from afar even though he never got to meet him.  

Please visit their site http://www.tapirday.org/ 

Thank you to all the Tapir Friends and Fans who also donated photos.   Cheers!

RIP Bali/George - Sumatran Tiger Passes

Forever Loved
Forever Missed

RIP Beautiful Bali  XO


Last night I shed many tears as I read about the morning passing of my Sweet Friend Georgie.   I loved this Tiger and have missed him.   

George's given name was Bali.  A beautiful name (that paid tribute to an extinct species of Tiger) that of course the San Francisco Zoo chose to change like they do of many other wonderful Animals that come to live there.   I came to know him as George and most of the time that stuck out of habit, but when I learned his given name, I tried to retrain myself and call him Bali.  

Bali came to the SFZoo to breed with Leanne/Skylar.  They had three cubs :)   When Bali's brother Java didn't prove to be a good mate for a female at Point Defiance Zoo, to keep that genetic match intact, Bali was transferred from SFZ to PDZ.   He has been very missed since then.

I kept up with him via social networking, even sending him a Birthday card the first year he celebrated there :)   He and his mate Jaya produced two cubs :)  

RIP Lisa Hamburger - Former Chimpanzee Keeper Passes

Former San Francisco Zoo Chimpanzee Keeper Lisa Hamburger passed away over the Thanksgiving holiday.  I never knew Lisa Hamburger, but she meant alot to Beings dear to me.   Cobby, Tallulah, Maggie, Minnie and Charlene.  This is in honor of her for you.

I read her name many times during my early research to further the passion I have for the San Francisco Zoo Animals.  She was an Animal Keeper in Primates for over three decades.  A champion for the Chimpanzee's in her care, she would be present at the Zoo meetings, being their voice and striving to get the best life for them at the Zoo.

I have also been told by my friend Charlene who is an active Docent, stories of Lisa's love and devotion to Minnie, Maggie, Tallulah and Cobby.  Charlene has been a Docent for almost ten years, but has been a  volunteer on and off since the the 1970s.   She "worked" with Lisa on many occasions during the 80s and has expressed fondness for her and noting it as one of her best experiences in her time at the Zoo.





Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Breaching Barriers at the San Francisco Zoo

Even in the wake of the tragedy of a Mother dropping her kid into an Animal exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo, our Zoo as usual continues Status Quo.   

I heard there were going to be additional signs put up about crossing barriers, but two weeks later, that has yet to be seen.   This is no surprise as the things the Zoo chooses to do for the most part are always curious.

I have been writing about Visitor misbehavior in my blogs for over a year, yet there have been no changes at the Zoo. 




I have not only blogged about this issue, but as far back as 2009 when I had an open email correspondence with the San Francisco Zoo Director Tanya Peterson, I made two significant suggestions.  One was instilled immediately (Winter hours), the other (more signage at Gorillas) has been in slight only recently at the suggestion of the Zoo's new hire of a "Visionist" for Animal Wellness.   

After the Tiger event of 2007, which took place near closing time on Christmas Day, with each time change I wondered, why is the Zoo still open til 5p?  Why are Visitors allowed to wander around the Zoo in the dark?   I found it extremely curious with a Team of supposed Zoo "professionals" that no one had thought this was a bad idea.  Clearly no one working at or connected with the San Francisco Zoo (San Francisco Zoological Society San Francisco Rec and Park), THOUGHT about this at all.  

In 2009, A man breached the barrier at Grizzly Bears.  This was in the later part of the day,  there was no Security in the area, and if our Grizzly Girls had not backed off this Human, they would have lost their lives.  I was sickened at this possibility and emailed Director Peterson immediately.  Along with stating the obvious in regards to Security, ect, I asked two questions.  Why is the Zoo open til 5p when its dark?   Are you waiting for another Tiger event?   I closed by suggesting the Zoo change its hours during the Winter and close at 4p. A few days later at the monthly Joint Zoo Committee Meeting Director Peterson proposed this exact time change to the Commission.  Winter hours started that year.  ... As I say in many instances, who's running the Zoo?  Oh yeah, me.  I should be.  Seriously, why did it take me to suggest this?  

After the Grizzly Bear incident the Zoo posted additional Security for about a week.  It was ridiculous as they had one Guard staring into the Grizzlies for days.  That said, after that week, there has not been any regular Security patrol at the Bears or any other area in the Zoo.  There is no additional signage.  There is no additional education.  There is nothing to help deter misbehavior towards the Animals.  Making this a priority in some cases like barrier breaching, would also prevent tragedies in which one of our precious Zoo Friends or that of the Human involved, could lose their life.

After the Tiger event of 2007, the Zoo was forced to make changes to the Big Cat Grottos, to keep the Animals in.  I can tell you one thing, I have never seen an Animal try to cross the barrier of an enclosure.  What I see every visit is a Human crossing the barrier of Animal enclosures.  Why is keeping Humans on the Visitor side of enclosures not as important as keeping Animals on the Animal side?  In the wake of all these events, why are exhibits (not only at SFZoo) allowed to be open aired between the Visitors and the Animals? 

Of course, having natural open aired exhibits is the "modern" (and ideal) way, but as society has also grown with the times, so has stupidity and evilness.   There needs to be a new way to showcase Animals without all Beings, being vulnerable.

I guess spending money on a new playground trumps not only updating Animals living spaces, but also keeping them and stupid humans safe.

Does the San Francisco Zoo Management not realize that the Zoo will not survive another tragedy?   

In the past two Visits (four days) I have seen Visitors dangle their kids over the barriers at the Hippo, Black Rhino, and Patas Monkey.


 @ Hippo

@ Rhino  

@Patas Monkey

& Continued breaching and disrespect @Anteater 

Granted I present my opinions on this barrier issue from the Safety side of both Animal and Human, I'm sure everyone who reads anything I write knows my concern will always be exclusively for the Animals.  That may sound awful, but I think in everything, they are never the priority.   Captive Animals especially, are at the mercy of Humans, yet the Humans who visit these captive Animals are at the mercy of themselves.  

That said, regardless of the incident at the Pittsburgh Zoo two weeks ago,  why do Humans think this behavior is acceptable at the homes of these Animals?   Whether or not an Animal is considered dangerous or not, this is disrespectful.  Would Humans like someone (or a wild animal for that matter) dangling their legs through a window in their home?   Disrespect aside, for this to even happen post Tatiana (Tiger event of 2007)  in any Zoo, is curious at best.   Did any of these people hear about the Pittsburgh Zoo incident?  Do they think that can't happen to them?  I'm sure the mother of the kid that she dropped into the Wild Dog enclosure didn't think that would happen.  Good Grief, is all sense disappearing?   I just don't get it.  I don't get the thought process of people.  

That said, what is the thought process of Zoo's like our San Francisco Zoo?  Why are Visitors allowed to behave this way?  Why is there no deterrent in the way of more signs, better barriers  more Security or Staff presence?   These downfalls lay solely within bad Management and with that irresponsible decision making and priorities. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Pike! - Polar Bear Birthday!


Pike turns 30 today!

 Happy Birthday Pike!

You are a Precious Sweet Girl 
my Friend!  XO!

 Pike was born at 
the San Francisco Zoo on 11.25.82 
& Ulu is wild born 
with a Birthday estimate of 12.25.80 

The Zoo gave both Pike and Ulu 
Snow for their "Birthdays" 
on November 15th. 
view a few of my photos here:

See photos from Pike's 28th Birthday Party!  
My friend Lee and I 
made Enrichment Toys for her :)

Learn more about Pike here:

News Article - Insuring Zoo's in the Wake of Tragedies

coming soon

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Monkey Killed by Humans in Boise Zoo Break-in

On the heels of my last post, a friend just alerted me to this sad and awful news.   A Patas Monkey was beaten and left for dead by Human intruders to the Boise Zoo.  Sadly the Monkey didn't make it.

You can read the full article at this link:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j45HhOg24uk2qNi4i-fL3Y0XeNTg?docId=1c739f5402b04831acbc269bcfa35724

Crimes against Animals are out of control.   For me, this is heartbreaking, because of how much they mean to me and frustrating, because it seems there is no way to put an end to the disregard a majority of people seem to have against them.

It is one thing to write about how Humans treat Animals, but even my words can never truly express how things like this and everything else related make me feel.  I started another blog sometime ago that has gone through many name changes since each time I hear of something awful I feel like a different name would be more appropriate and reach more people.  The last time I posted there was in the midst of several Celebrity Animal Cruelty items.  In the wake of these stories coming to light, I never even finished my series of posts because there is so much violence against Animals, it overwhelmed me.

My outlet to express myself when I witness or hear about such things is in writing and my forum has been blogging.  That said, as a member of society that cares, I know I am not alone.  I have met like minded people, both in person and via the internet.  I also know those of us who do care are outnumbered.  Whether its in Zoo's, in Parks, Animals natural wild living space, or any place an Animal calls home.   Whether its people misbehaving in non-contact ways like verbal abuse (name calling, heckling, ect),  terrorizing (chasing, harassing, ect),  invading/trespassing (barrier breaching) into their living space,  OR by physical attack (any kind of forceful/harmful contact).   It just seems Human Beings are getting worse in their need to overpower the Non-Human Beings we share this earth with.   Its sad and its sickening.  

There is no other word for me to describe a crime against an innocent being such as an Animal except Evil.  I truly believe that there has to be something seriously wrong with the internally make-up of someone to have any disregard for an Animal.  That includes people who think its funny to makes jokes about them, funny to stand at their enclosures and yell and laugh at them, run after them (I see this daily in the Park with the Ducks), allow their pets to chase for thrill ( people who let their Dogs chase the Ducks, Birds, Squirrels), all of it, it all falls under being Evil at the core.  Anyone who has a decent soul has empathy and would not do any of these things.  All the things I've mentioned, I've seen done by Adults.  These actions don't even cover the crimes being committed by those who trophy hunt and pose smiling with the Animal they just murdered or those in other countries slaughtering Animals for profit, or the many other crimes that are committed against Animals. 

Ok, so I have gotten off the main subject a bit, but the issue is the same.  Humans against Animals.  As I said, the list of offenses is overwhelming.  That said, what can be done to at least protect the Animals that live in supposedly secure Facilities such as Zoo's?    I came up with a philosophy after the 2007 Tiger Attack at the SFZoo.    You can't safeguard everything 100% or there would be no crime.  BUT  I also have grown to believe that there are things that can be done to deter and definitely make it harder for offenders.   

With Humans becoming more and more out of control, changes in how things are done need to grow with the times.  I have blogged about this endlessly in reference to the SFZoo.   That said, this mindset should be that of all Zoo's.  There needs to be more Security, more secure enclosures (with just as much priority on keeping Animals in as keeping Humans out), and better all around practices in promoting Animal respect.  I know there are many Zoo's that let their Animals have access at night to outdoor quarters, with main Zoo perimeters not secure, this shouldn't even be happening.   I'm not saying any of this had anything to do with this incident or even that of the Monkey that was stolen from SFZoo earlier this year.  I'm saying Zoo's need to inspect and identify in general as many angles of deterrence they can, not just leave things status quo.  You can't these days and all the Human misbehavior I have blogged about, in addition to these two break-in crimes proves that.

I don't even know how to wrap this up. This made me think of so many instances I've witnessed.  Animal safety and respect is a passion of mine.  So sometimes I trail off and get wordy.  Bottom line,  I feel awful for the Keepers who took care of this Monkey, for its companion who is left and most awful for the fear this Monkey must have felt.  I can only wish for a better tomorrow for Animals.   RIP little Monkey.




Veteran's Day - SFZoo Visit 11.12.12

As usual I'm behind on my posts, but no matter when I post my experience's and thought's, they will always be necessary, since my mission is always that of being the voice of the Animals.  There is no other reason I do this.

So, last Monday.  Until I walked up to the gate and saw the line for ticket sales into the parking lot, I didn't realize it was a Holiday.  I usually spend part of the Winter Holidays with the Zoo friends, but sometimes I try to avoid other Holidays and Free Day because it seems to bring out the worst kinds of Visitors and an abundance of them.  This Veteran's Day was no different.

That said,  the Zoo continues to not hire extra Security on these high traffic days and there is no Staff presence.  If they think that a handful of Docents is going to be their eyes and ears on the property they are mistaken.  I saw Docents, but I didn't (and rarely do) see any interact with any Visitors and def not the ones who misbehave.

If you start out Visiting the Barnyard Friends, usually not much can dampen your day.  How could it when you have faces like Paddy's greeting you?!!   ...  Unless you see a grown woman try to sit on a Dwarf Goat :(

 Paddy says, "Good Morning!"

Moving on, as we went through the Primate Center to see little Romo (Langur babie), on our way to check on Lily (Duiker) babie watch, we ran into Keeper Percy (?).   As I have often done recently, I asked her if Lily had her babie and she said, "I don't know, I'm not working over there today".   Plausible but unlikely as word of a birth would have spread.   Completely unlikely since she was walking ahead of us on our way to the Giraffe Barn (where Lily has been  corralled) and went into the Barn, not a foot from Lily!   Would have been better for her to ignore my question rather than lie about it, but hey, nothing up in that place should surprise me at this point lol!

Moving on we arrived at the Black Rhinos.  There is a sign there with the universal "shoosh" as well some words about being quiet.  I have posted similar photos, and again this is just to say, Why can't these type of signs be at every exhibit?  There is too much excessive human noise around the Animals.  This is their home, it should be a place of peace, people need to observe them in quiet.


In light of the tragedy at the Pittsburgh Zoo earlier that week, I decided to take photos of some of our exhibits breach-able barriers.   Below is the barrier to the Black Rhinos.  These Animals can come right to the barrier almost, making them very vulnerable to people's misbehavior.


In my post about the PZoo incident, I noted our Anteater's exhibit.  I know the Zoo peeps read my blog, one would think they would pay special attention to these breach-able areas, and not only prepare to upgrade them so the Animals aren't vulnerable, but post signs not to breach the barriers in anyway.  But alas, as usual the Zoo does not make the Animals safety and Well Being a priority.

Not only did I see at least a handful of people physically breaching the barrier at the Anteater, but people also use this barrier to lay all their crap on, purses, maps, food, drinks, whatever.  It would be very easy for something to fall into the exhibit and for Angelo (Anteater) to get it.  


Guy leaning over barrier INTO the exhibit.  Is this photo going to be that much closer because of this?  The real question is, why would someone think this is acceptable behavior?   Is the photo more important than the Animals security level?   Would this guy want someone leaning into his window to take a photo?   


Same rules apply as above.  Hello, Animal comfort levels.  If your kid isn't tall enough, lift them up but in no way is it acceptable to sprawl across a barrier and dangle your legs into it.





And finally, I guess this parent didn't hear the news this past week.  The kid who fell into the exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo was being held this exact way.  Granted I don't think an Anteater would cause the same harm as the Wild Dogs, but regardless, this is unacceptable behavior.  

While at the Big Cats, ironically specific the Siberian Tiger exhibit (shown below) I saw a kid standing at the fencing area, then walk over to the landscaped area and pick out specific items, sticks and large rock sized bark, and walk back over the barrier to the fencing.  I knew exactly what was going to happen next.  I said, "Don't you throw that stuff at the Tiger!"   Without facing me he dropped the items and then turned and walked away.   WHAT is wrong with people?   I don't care if this was a kid, kids should be taught that this behavior is not acceptable.   Good grief, how hard is it for people (since the Zoo isn't going to educate people who enter) to tell their kids to Respect the Animals before they come in.  Oh yeah,  its usually the Adults who are worse.

When will the San Francisco Zoo start protecting its Animals and become a Zero Tolerance Facility?  They need to make barriers not vulnerable and start educating people as they enter and have tons of signs everywhere reminding people what not to do.  

I'd like to see people throw stuff at the Tigers again without a barrier.  See how brave they are then.  This behavior boils down to Bullying.   Karma is a Bitch as they say and in this type of instance, that kid just might get bullied at school and have sticks and rocks thrown at him. 



Tiger/Big Cats barrier upgrade after the Tiger attack in 2007.   One would think this was enough to keep people from harassing the Animals, but its not.  Unfortunately I think all Zoo's need to have complete glass barriers between the Humans and the Animals, in order for the Animals to stay safe.

On the subject of Bullying.   Why is it Humans take pleasure in verbally assaulting the Animals with insults?  I hear this all the time.  I heard it today at the Anteater and although what people say has no barring on my life, it hurts my heart to hear such things about innocent Animals.  Its disgusting and again, Humans sure don't like it when their behavior is turned on them.   Even when its a verbal insult.   I hear it and comment on it often.

I'm sorry but i just don't understand how society got littered with so much Human Trash.   



Thankfully the Animals always make me smile.  As we headed out, we saw precious Tallulah daydreaming.  She is also lounging on a blanket that my friend Lee had given to Padang (passed Tiger) on her 21st Birthday.  I'm glad Miss T is getting use and comfort from it.

Another heart warming moment as I left the Zoo, there was a family at the sign on Sloat.  The Father was taking a photo of his two kids posing with stuffed animals they bought in the gift shop.  One was an Anteater, the other a Tiger.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Polar Bears Get Snow! - Thursday 11.15.12




Kudos to Keeper Susie who did a wonderful job on providing Enrichments for the Polar Bears.  

Both our lovely girls Pike and Ulu had a wonderful time!


 *~*~* Pike *~*~*

                                     






*~*~* Ulu *~*~*   







Love to you girls, my precious Polar Friends!  I'm so glad that I got to watch you have a wonderful day!

I put the happy the first.  Actually the Bears happiness was as it always is, pure and maintained, as was mine in being able to share in their happiness.   

As indicated by the above sentence, there of course is something surrounding this wonderful experience that is cause for a frown.  That frown is directed towards the Marketing Department at the San Francisco Zoo.

Thankfully I heard about this wonderful treat for my loved Zoo Friends,  but unless you were part of the Media, you were not invited.   Typical to many Holiday fun Animal Enrichment displays, they are done for Media attention photo ops only.   Why?  I'd like to know that.

Seeing the Polars get snow is a wonderful thing.  Something that I'm sure many would like to be there to see.    When they got snow in 2009, I heard about this in the News and lucky the weather was ideal and the snow lasted until I got there the following day.  No thanks to the Zoo Staff, who when I called to ask if it was still there said No.   Lucky I somehow I had a sense for lameness even that far back and went out anyway.  Seeing the Polars making snow angels and smiling is still one of my life highlights.

Since then there have been many instance like the one yesterday and in 2009, where the Animals have gotten fun treats and no one is there to see it, because no one knows about it.  In addition to yesterday, another that sticks out is a Halloween Media event involving the Chimps.  I was the only one there who wasn't a part of the Media.  Like yesterday, it took place at opening, but even Visitors passing through the gates aren't told its going on, so little to no one is around.   I have also seen the tail-end of such fun, just by happening to be there, as often these events happen during open hours, like yesterday, they just aren't  publicized.   Why?  I'd like to know that.

I have always loved watching the Animals get out of the ordinary Enrichment.  If you have read any of my posts, you know my history and passion about this.  If not, please search this blog or visit my Enrichment blog:   thebigcatnip.blogspot.com    In my opinion and experience, other people love it too.   Who doesn't want to see the Animals having fun?   ( As I typed that I realized that was a loaded Q!  Of course I have a sarcastic answer to that, but I'll refrain).   My point is, Why doesn't the Zoo get that people like this kind of stuff?  Why, do they not find value in letting their Visitors and Members know when these things are happening?   Why do they not get that this kind of fun for the Animals, feeds the public's need to not only see the Animals having fun, but also some needs for "entertainment"?   While I don't view this as entertainment and I do not think that is how the Animals should be viewed, I use that word as more of an "action" sense, versus "performance".  

So, as I stood there smiling at my precious Polars, I heard a Docent ask the Marketing guy Danny Latham, why this wasn't advertised.  As usual from the mouths of many SFZoo (mostly Management) Staff, nonsense flowed.   He said and I paraphrase,  "That was for Media.  ...  The Ice Truck was getting there early, before the Zoo opened."  There was some other nonsense, I just can't remember, but this is enough to smell the crap.  What time the truck was getting there has absolutely nothing to do with posting the information on their website and other social media outlets that the Polars would have snow on Thursday morning when the Zoo opened.  Plain and Simple.  Also plain and simple, the Zoo just doesn't care if people come to see such things, they only care about getting their name in the Media.

He also agreed, "It is a good event".   In my opinion, something is not an "Event"  unless its allowed to be.  

That said, there was a sign there that this "event" was in celebration of the Polars Birthdays.   That even more begs the question, Why was this not advertised?   Outside of a handful of Visitors, everyone else was Media or Staff.

If you want to wish the Polar girls a Happy Birthday, Pike turns 30 on November 25th and Ulu will turn 32 on December 19th!

I will also note some other thoughts that crossed my mind.   

For me, anytime, for any reason the Animals get to have this kind of fun  (which if you read my Enrichment posts you will know doesn't happen that often), , you would think that Staff would  love to see that.  Sadly, only those on Keeper level seem to care and take joy in seeing such things.  There were a few Guest Services Staff who came over, but in general the other Staffers who came out for the initial hoopla of Media attention, faded quickly.  Even the Carnivore Curator Corinne MacDonald just walked by without even stopping to see the joy that the Animals in her Department were getting.   

Someone else who was MIA for the "event",  Zoo Director Tanya Peterson.  Maybe she didn't get the Memo.  Seriously, does she work full-time   What exactly does she do all day?  Why is she never present for these kinds of things?  She sure hauls herself and her overboard Animal print wardrobe out for the big society events and cocktail parties.  AND I'm sure she will be present when the new Playground opens.   ... For those who haven't heard, the Rec and Park Commission voted to allow the Zoo to proceed with building a new playground for Humans while Animals like the Polars continue to live (and die) in ancient exhibits in dire need for upgrading.   But hey, the Zoo has never made the Animals a priority.  Sadly there are also so called Zoo lovers (Visitors/Members/Donors/Zoological Board/City Officials) who think this is okay as well.

Lastly, I heard Docent Chris Shuttlesworth say in reference to the Polars, "They are old and we don't know how much longer they will live",   OMG!  Nice words.  I heard something similar from the mouth of an Education Staffer whose name I don't know.  I don't know why I still get aghast hearing such things, but I do.  It hurts my heart, as well I just think its unprofessional, not to mention uncaring coming from the mouths of anyone who represents the Zoo.   The thing to say would be along the lines of noting that our Polars have surpassed estimated age spans and that we are lucky to have them!  ... A Docent also breezed by me and said, "He's having fun!"   Both the Polars are girls.  UG.

When will the Zoo get it together?   When will the Management Staff, in this case Marketing, get what will draw in Visitors and endear them to the Zoo to make repeated Visits and not just one-offs?  When will the Director really become the face of the Zoo and be out on the grounds showing she cares what goes on there on a daily basis?  When will the Staff that are there to teach people not only learn about the Animals that live there, but gain some professional tact in how they present information? 

When, when, Why, why, Ay Yi Yi!

That all said, I had a great time, because I got to see my precious girls have a great time!

*****************************



ADD:  Forgot I to post this photo.  It contains some information about Pike and Ulu :)  ...  I love that  these precious and special girls Birthdays got recognized and I surely hope that Animal Birthdays become something the Zoo embraces to celebrate the lives that make the Zoo what it is.  That said, I have to wonder if their Birthdays didn't fall during a time when the Zoo gives them Snow anyway, would they have even had a Birthday celebration?

Pike will turn 30 on November 25! 
&  
Ulu will turn 32 on December 19!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

San Francisco Zoo Management = Humans Priority over Animals

I wrote a blog post on this issue (again) that has sat in draft form for quite some time.  You can find it below the dotted line.

Today the issue is as such.   The San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission will vote this Thursday, whether to grant the Zoo the go-ahead for this project.   This information comes today as part of an Examiner article you can view here:   
http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2012/11/next-zoo-habitat-kids-san-francisco-zoo

It is my opinion that this plan is a slap in the face to the Animals that live at the Zoo and once again shows that the SFZoo does not put the Animals first.   So much for their new "Wellness Initiative"  which claims to put the Animals first.  

I do not have time to write in detail all the reasons this is wrong, but I have blogged about it before, I will next include in part my letter emailed to the Commission this morning (that includes the points I think in short are  most valid), as well below are photos and text that made up my post in draft.

If you value the Zoo as the Animal Park it is supposed to be, and visit because you love Animals, I have to assume you to share my feelings on this.  I try to present information in my blog that is of my opinion and such the readers can form their own based on that, but I have to say, if you think that a new playground for Humans is more important than providing optimum living spaces for the Animals, that is sad.

If you are moved to do so, please email the Commission at:    recpark.commission@sfgov.org

My letter:

Dear San Francico Recreation And Park Commissioners, Mark Buell, Tom Harrison, Paige Arata, Gloria Bonilla, Meagan Levitan, Larry Martin, and Commissioner Low,

I understand that this Thursday there will be a vote regarding the proposed new Playground at the San Francisco Zoo.  

The Zoo is a place where Animals live.  If you care about the well being of any Animal, I urge you to vote against this.

As a lifetime Visitor and current Member of the San Francisco Zoo, I visit the Zoo at least twice a week.  Admittedly I have alot of issues with the decisions current Management makes adn this is a very big one.

My heart and passion is for Animals.  I have strong attachments to the ones that live at the Zoo.  

As you know, the Zoo is over 80 years old and many areas are in need of upgrades, primarily many of the Animal enclosures.  These are enclosures to us, but homes to them.  

It hurts my heart when the Zoo proposes "New", when "Old" isn't helped.  

Earlier this year our beloved Andean Bear Wishbone died from injuries related to living his life on concrete.  The Management may tell you different, but that would not be the truth.

The Polar Bears continue to live 50% of their life on concrete.  The Chimps have a third living space that was closed down for maintenance issues over two years ago and never worked on.  These are just two examples of dire needs for these Animals.  

In addition to the new Playground the Zoo has a whole new region in the plan, while the Bears, Chimps and other Animals languish in their old homes that need serious upgrading.  These two Animals I have mentioned are Senior Residents, so complete new areas for them would not be advisable, for upset and displacement reasons, but that doesn't mean there isn't upgrades that can be made to improve their lives.  Frankly the Zoo Management team appears to be just waiting out their lives before they plan on anything for them, and that is not right.   The Andean Bear had known leg, bone, joint issues for many years and was put down while still having all it all mentally, but just never recovered from the last in a long list of injuries to his mobility issues from living on concrete.

Are Animals living in these conditions less important than Humans having a new play area?

Please remember when you vote that the Zoo is a place where Animals live.  They give their lives so Humans can view them and learn about them.  This is a place the should support the Animals first.  It is not an Amusement Park.

The Zoo has recently rolled out their new slogan of "Wellness" for the Animals.  Claiming that the Animals will finally become a priority.  Building a new area for Humans is not putting the Animals first.  Kids should come there knowing they are there to see Animals, playing is secondary.  There is no need for a new Playground.  If they want to do something, there are many ways to bring new things to the current Playground, that are not of such a cost both monetary and at the slight fo the Animals.   

I understand that these funds were raised or donated for this use, but with that I will also add that is because the Zoo team only seeks funds for "New", never proposing to donors the serious needs.

If this project gets the go ahead, your message will be that Humans having a better play space is more important than the Animals having  better living conditions.  Building a "naturalistic" playground while Bears walk on concrete is unacceptable and disgusting.

Thank You
Kim ...
San Francisco

*********************************************

Does the San Francisco Zoo really need new 
AND elaborate playgrounds?


The following "models" were on display near the Carousel for the recent ZooFest. 





 It appears that soon Humans will have 
better play areas than 
the Animals have living spaces.

 In addition to four, count 'em 4 new playgrounds in the Playfield area,
there is a "playground" in the plans for the new Squirrel Monkey enclosure.

In addition to these play areas, the Zoo also has multiple Statues which Kids play on more than they do the actual Playground.  As well there is a huge grass area (while some Animals have no grass or soft surface at all in their homes) for playing.  People can bring their own play gear, or the Zoo can rent a bouncy house or other such rotating kid entertainment items.  There is no need to spend money while Animals live on concrete and have little other Enrichment in their lives.

Taken of current playground area during 
the Zoo's Hawaiian Hertitage Event.

Note the abundance of children making use of the playground.  AND this is during an Event.  I again ask, why is the Zoo spending money on building playgrounds for humans when the Animals who live there need upgraded homes and other Enrichments?