Sunday, May 27, 2012

Saturday May 26, 2012 - Visit

I honestly didn't think I'd be writing another "visit" post, as I really want to streamline my blogging and in addition to honoring the Zoo Friends Birthdays and Passings, just post photos to my supplement photo site ( ), but yesterday's visit was the perfect example of  both the model for this blog and why I want to streamline posts.

I have four posts in draft form about feelings, opinions and observations, that I have planned to post for a couple weeks now.  Starting with one titled "Exhausted and Disheartened", these posts were meant to be my lead in to posting hiatus, as they were written following the post about how the San Francisco Zoo used my photos illegally ( ) .  I didn't get a chance to post them, as once again there was a string of Zoo Friend losses and it didn't seem right.  I'll post them after this as there are some that are in direct relation to irritations from yesterday.  So, on with my visit!

Last week I thought I'd check the Savannah once again in hopes of a Dukier sighting.  After such a long time without seeing the female and never seeing them here together since the last shuffle, I was happy to find them in the little shelter space by the tunnel.  So, yesterday I made this my first stop.


Precious Sweethearts, Lily and Erik.

I started to tear up right before this photo was taken.  Lily had just given Erik some kisses on the back.  Little licks that could be considered grooming but were so brief they had to have been kisses :)   Why would this make me cry?  Because for me their situation the past couple years has hurt my heart.  Yes, I think of these Animals in an empathetic way, which some Animal Care professionals (even some pet owners) do not.  I personally do not care about the opinions of people who do not believe that Animals have feelings, I know they do.  That said, I will give in short their story as I see it based on the facts of their shuffle.   I will also write a longer post with more detail and photos.  Check back for it soon.   Until then you can read some of my previous thoughts that will in part make up the new post, in an old post ( ) 

In brief,  after years of living together as a couple and after the birth of their two calves, Lily was removed from the family unit and stuck out on the Savannah alone, ALONE! while her mate Erik and her two sons Java and Houdini remained together in their old enclosure.  Awful.

Zoo Games.  Is this necessary?

So, yesterday the Zoo had a Health fair of sorts going on.  It was a nice little event with good booths.  It seemed that the installation above and a few more of the like that were posted around the grounds were debuted in connection with this as they have a "heath" aspect to them or "wellness"  which is a word the Zoo seems to be throwing around these days paired with and sometimes in lieu of  "enrichment".   Are they really necessary?  In my opinion no.  In my opinion, another waste of money.    Also it they want to promote wellness, why don't they concentrate on the wellness of the Animals and have a little empathy for them as individuals and not commodities.   In regard to this post, Lily and Walter for example.

I know I sound like a complainer, but after Wishbone's unnecessary death because of his living conditions (lack of upgrading to natural surfaces) I get pissed, yes pissed about things that are done there that aren't for the Animals.  Doing things things like this should be secondary to the Animals needs.   I think its wrong to do anything before doing for Animals in need.  Spending money to upgrade Animal enclosures and purchase additional Enrichment items and supplies for those purposes, to me are what should be priority.

Posted at Walter's former "holding" area

This sign is a joke, considering how disrespected Walter was in the last few months.  Walter used to live in an enclosure at the Puente exhibit that had access to an indoor shelter and stream to eat his fish from.  One day all of a sudden, he was across the path in a "holding" area that used to be the senior Capybara's home. Two Crowned Cranes now lived in his home and he had a clear view of this offence.  Not only did this holding area not have an indoor shelter, but he had the added disrespect of having his sign thrown on the ground at the foot of the fence. The Zoo left him outside in the rain during many stormy nights our area went through during that time.  He was disrespected for months and they have the nerve to act like he was a valued part of their family.  Disgusting.  Just like the sign at Wishbone's old killer grotto, that states the same.  If they cared about Wishbone they wouldn't have let him live on concrete all these years pounding his bones to a literal death. I sure hope the SFZoo doesn't get a hold of Walter's offspring, or any other offspring for that matter.  

I have a source at the Audubon Zoo and they tell me Walter is doing great in his quarantine area which is not only in view of his intended lady Lucy, but it has an indoor shelter and a stream!   I've been to this Zoo and its wonderful.  The Swamp area where Walter will live is cool.  If you have a chance, visit the Zoo and say hi to Walter!  I miss him!

The Peccary Ladies :)  Peony, Petunia and Poppy :)

QR Code sign

Another waste of money.  The QR (Quick Response) Code is one of those Smart Phone info symbols.  This one will tell you about the artist of this mural, fine info to share, but how many people are going to actually care to use this?  AND spending money to make these when there aren't even enough signs about proper Visitor behavior towards the Animals.  Another stupid "keeping up with the Jones" type thing instead of taking care at home, ie the Animals who live there.

Poor Sweet Elly, still staring into Gene's space 
and needing to be oiled again.
Can't they A) Oil her at least once a month 
and B) Put a barrier cover along that area,
so she doesn't just stare there looking for him.

Sukari lounging in the Sun :)

The sign at one of the Big Cat grottos/yards.

So, even before Padang's passing I had suggested they change the signage to be more universal for the area, since the Cats are on rotation, meaning they all (Lions and both Tiger species) can be found in any of the yards.  My suggestion was to replace the specie signs with Visitor behavior signs and put a larger sign with photos and info about our Cats in front of the Lion House in the greenery area on the opposite side of the Fishing Cats.  Much like one the  huge one the Oakland Zoo has about their Tigers.   ( )

Now, months later this sign remains and the only Cat to be in this enclosure since Easter is Shastyuh, the Amur/Siberian Tiger.  People have always been thrown off by standing at a sign that says Lion and seeing a Tiger in the yard (the case at another Cat yard), much like this one that doesn't even show the appropriate species..  Its ridiculous and doesn't exactly promote education which is part of the Zoo's supposed Mission's.  

Training platform for Snow Leopards.

This really upsets me.  Last year I noticed that one of the hardware pieces in the construction of this was sticking out and could easily harm the Animal.  I alerted someone on the Animal Staff and the hardware was covered using rocks and wood.   In this photo you can see the pile of rocks and wood in the bottom part of the photo where they are covering the protruding hardware I reported, BUT you can also see at the green arrow an exact like piece of hardware left completely exposed.  UG.

Ok, enough of this mess, I'm hyped up again just reliving it enough to write about it.

On to good stuff!  Nature Trail is open!

Two Box Turtles :)
I forgot their names ;(

Pretty Turtle named Slider :)
what an adorable face!
Remembered her name but not what kind ;(

The Nature Trail is a summer thing, so make sure to visit and meet these wonderful Animals, that aren't visible for the most part during other times.  I think there are over a hundred Animals in the ARC that are off exhibit, so when you get to meet them on occasions like this its cool :)  ... In addition to Turtles, there was a Chinchilla, Owl, Parrot, Hedgehog, Newt and Snake out there :)

Will post more photos soon of the other Nature Trail Animals.  Please see my photo site for more pix from yesterday and check back next week for more ARC Friends :)


  1. I will definately say I totally have to agree on absolutely everything you wrote. It was precious to see Lily and Erik together but heartbreaking to know how they had been separated so cruely before. Fun seeing Poppy, Petunia and Peony the adorable pecaries. Peony is funny cuz she always is in the back. I don't know why the zoo staff doesnt go out in the animals yards and check for sharp objects. I saw the same hardware sticking out in the Snow Leopard area. The lions are very bored these days. I love them so much, but these days, they are forced outside and sleep all day. I don't even know why the Lion House is open these days since the cats are never in there any more. People go in and wonder where they are because they are hiding outside also. I havent seen Leanne in a couple weeks except possibly her stripes behind bushes. Martha hides and never is in that grotto she liked to swim in. (I always called it her spa grotto). The health fair was fine but I think it's really horrible that the zoo has put "people excercise" signs all over the zoo and spent great expense on that when the animals need upgrades. They sure didnt seem to worry about Wishbone, as you stated. I guess the zoo is trying to copy the First Lady by using the "get moving" idea. I am glad that the nature trail is open again. The kids this year were extremely informative and volunteered info. They were very sweet and confident. Pooe Miss Elly with the dryness on her skin again....Your photos are wonderful, so keep up the good work on your passion for the zoo animals!!!

  2. @Lee- Thank you for your comment, opinions, and kudos. ... Yes, the separation of Lily and Erik was cruel. No other way to put it. ... You are right about the Big Cats being hardly seen these days. Since Padang's passing I have rarely seen any Cats inside. At least when they came in for a bit, they were up and visible. I know Cats and they like to nap! So having them active for that short window of time was a good thing. I am not saying they are there for entertainment because I do not advocate that, I'm just pointing out that them having outside access only, works the opposite than what I assume the Zoo's angle is. The Zoo is pro forcing Animals on exhibit, but with Cats that as the only option provides no time in which they can be seen. I agree the Lion House should just be closed then. What's the point? A better way to work it would be to have the Cats have indoor access for one hour, so people can view them. If people really want to see them, they will make sure to be there during that time frame. I love those Cats too and miss not seeing them. I too haven't seen Leanne's face in weeks. Shastyuh/Martha thrived in the yard where her favorite pool was. She loves the water but that doesn't seem to be taken into consideration. ... I don't follow politics, but your First Lady connection may be right, and certainly goes with my "keeping up with the Jones" statement. Thing is the Zoo's First Lady doesn't seem to know what's best for the Zoo and obviously neither do her advisors and its obvious the Board doesn't care. Money is spent on things that shouldn't be a priority and the things that should aren't acknowledged. Upgrading enclosures, more Enrichment, and endearing (with education on the Residents and Respecting them and Animals in general) Visitors to the Animals and Zoo. .. Yes I thought this was the best bunch of Nature Trail kids too. ... Let's hope Elly gets oilied this week! She should automatically be getting oiled every four weeks, for that seems to be how long it lasts. One would think the Zoo would want me to stop contacting Animal Welfare about this.

  3. I also want to say that I miss Walter so much. He was always one of my very favorite critters at the zoo and despite what the zoo may think, he had a big following. I remember just a couple weeks ago a family walked by me when I was in the Puente and said, "where's the stork"? *until they noticed him in that holding area. Lot's of people knew his name too. I was very distressed that after the zoo decided to relocate him they displaced him from his habitat. He missed his little stream and had no shelter at all thru some very stormy weather. They zoo had his sign just thrown on the ground and finally they just removed the sign. It upsets me that now that he has relocated to another zoo they put a sign up. I completely do not understand the thought process the zoo goes thru but they totally disrespect the animals there. I am glad Walter is in another zoo not where he will have a lady love and a little stream to catch his fishies. I will miss Walter, he and I were buddies. I love you Walter!!!

  4. @Lee- I was very upset by the move of Walter as well. He should have been kept in his regular area until he was crated and shipped. There was no reason to do the shuffle any sooner. It was an inadequate place for him, which I heard was only going to be a few weeks and that turned into a few months. Awful. ... Yea there sure managed to put a sign up about how much they cared about him and will miss him, but while he was there his sign was tossed on the ground. Disrespectful. ... I don't understand most human's thought process, but the Zoo seems to have a high concentrate of them. ... I will miss Walter tremendously, but I am thankful he's out of there and someplace where he will be respected. Good luck to Walter and his lady Lucy :)


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