Saturday, March 17, 2012

Friday March 16, 2012 - Zoo-ing in the Rain pt two

My first venture back and three things bothered me.

A few weeks ago Walter the Maguari Stork was moved from one area in the Puente Al Sur exhibit to another area.  I've had an issue with this since day one.  He had lived for at least a few years in an area that not only had a little stream where he ate his fish from, perches he liked to sit on, but most important there was access to shelter.   He was displaced so two Crowned Cranes could move in.  When I first saw this, poor Walter was staring across the path at the new tenants in his home.  I felt horrible.  I felt even worse when I looked at his new area, which had a plastic tub taking the place of his stream, no perches and the only shelter he had was a piece of tarp about a square yard to cover a corner.  Oh and his sign was just thrown on the ground, a few feet from a "Respect the Animals" sign which I found ironic in this disrespectful situation.  Now, if you are in the area you know that we have had alot of rain in the past few weeks, and that said, poor Walter has had no shelter from it.  A piece of tarp to cover a small area at the top, does not keep you warm and dry on the other sides of your body.  

I was told Walter was soon moving to another Zoo, to meet a girlfriend :)  At the time made me sad because he is an adorable friend who always greets you, but now I wish he was there already as they probably have a home with shelter for him.  ... The right thing to do would have been to wait til he had gone to his new home to make these changes or put the cranes in the "holding pen", not shuffle around the current resident.

Sweet Walter drenched in yesterdays down pour :(   
you can see his pathetic "shelter" in the background

Precious passed Orkney, not gone but two weeks and already his area re-vamped and the Black Swans moved in.  The bigger bother in this is that the ground is covered with a natural covering, yet Wishbone lived on concrete for 4 years exclusively.  When the Zoo wants to move quick it does.  ... Just waiting for the big shoe to drop when they rush in and re-do Wishy's home, something they couldn't do for him.

A ramp from the meadow to Pike's enclosure.  Does Pike now have mobility issues as well (as Wishbone did)?  A couple things.  Why is there now a ramp option, yet Wishbone, even after suffering a fall from his shelf bed, still had to climb concrete stairs (with a previous addition of wooden block stairs)?  If there is a problem with Pike's mobility, will other "stepping" modifications be made to accomodate her?  

Pike is another Bear at the San Francisco Zoo who lived most her life on concrete and still lives more than 50% of it on concrete, as does Ulu.

I'm not going to re-hash my views and opinions on the Bear situation, I'll post links and you can view them as you like.

I just wish the San Francisco Zoo Management and San Francisco Zoological Society had the humane consciousness to have added some natural surface landscaping to these three Bear inhabited grotto's in the past couple decades so these Bears wouldn't end up with mobility issues.  It is my opinion living on concrete lead to the premature death of Wishbone and his companion Annie.

UPDATE:  I have visited the Zoo a couple times this past week and I have learned and heard a couple things in reference to points I made in this blog post.

I have heard that there are "ideas in the works" about what to do with Wishbones grotto.  So, it seems my fears of them rushing in to make this area something different in hopes of putting another animal there is on the horizon.  This is heartbreaking to me, as I just wish they would have had the heart to do something for Wishy that may have saved his bones and his life.

I could make a guess and say that they will update it with landscaping and try to get another Bear.  There are plenty of Bears that need rescuing, and I'm all for saving lives faced with being euthanized, but at the same time doing such an upgrade to me would be a slap in Wishbone's face.

I learned (and remember hearing in passing) that Pike has some arthritis issues, most often chalked up to association with aging, which may very well be the case.  The ramp shown is a sort of trial to make sure she will use it, which so far she isn't fond of it.  I agree with what I heard in that it would be worse if she chose not to use any modifications made, which avoiding them would pose her being vulnerable to injury by choosing to go around them.  I trust the Keepers to make these calls.  I may have originally posted a bit rashly, but from my experiences there are curious things and the situation with Wishbone's concrete life has made me hyper-sensitive to how the minds of Zoo management work and their motives.


  1. I am appauled at the zoo's constant disrespect of the animals that live there. Poor precious Walter. Not only did they move him to a crappy spot, the cranes arent there anymore. I truly believe that they didnt build up a nice spot for Walter because he will be moving soon. That is absolutely horrible to say but from what I have seen in how the zoo works, it's a safe bet it's a true belief. Walter is one of my all time favorites there and I am gonna miss him but you know what.... even though he is going to a zoo I am not familiar with, it's a safe bet it's a better place for Walter. I am very distressed over the quick fixing up of Orkney's spot and now a crappy and unsteady looking ramp for Pike. I worry so much for our precious bears. One might wonder that by them putting up a ramp for Pike, they are admitting that they totally messed up on precious Wishbone. So disrespectful. I used to go to the zoo for it being a happy place, now I go to make sure they arent fucking up.

  2. I actually saw the Cranes yesterday, the times you haven't seen them, they are probably in shelter! I too think that the thought with poor precious Walter was, "Well he's leaving,..." ... I certainly hope that ramp is secure! I hadn't thought of that. ... I also agree that they know they didn't do Wishy justice. They will never admit that, but they know.

  3. They won't admit to it, but they are guilty. I swear, the zoo frowns on hiring compassionate people. (except a handful of keepers). I guess if you are going for a management position and are related to the devil, they'll hire you. I betcha when they put that ramp up for Pike, a 120 pound person tried it out. They arent realizing Pikeapoo weighs almost 600 pounds. Just like those unsteady and very light weight boxes for Wishy. Crates unsecured for a bear weighing in at 400? Check the ramp out, it's not secured. I am handicapped, there half assed upgrades don't cut it with me.

  4. Never thought about it, but it is curious how they would test this on Bear weight? Will have to find out. ... Those boxes added to Wiahy's stairs just seemed to defeat the purpose. If he had trouble with his back and legs, why even let him up to an area that once he got up to could AND DID fall off of onto concrete. Closing off that and other potentially dangerous areas in the grotto would have been the right thing to do. ... As stated if they made this modification for Pike, will they also make modifications to other parts of the grotto?


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