Sunday, July 8, 2012

WHAT is up with Big Cat Grotto B?!!!

When I arrived at Big Cat Grotto B yesterday I almost cried and now pulling photos of reference is making me feel sick to my stomach.  As you can see there is a major difference in how this Yard now looks. 

 Taymor standing in front of the Bamboo

The wall the Bamboo formerly lined

From my perspective, this is just another way the Animals are disrespected.  This Yard has been home to Taymor, the Zoo's recent addition male Sumatran.  He has been out of quarantine just over a month and seems to be doing very well in his new home.  I have witnessed it take others longer to get comfortable, and think he has progressed much faster.  That said, he still does like to seek refuge in the Bamboo that lines one of the walls.  That was until it was slaughtered and removed!  WHAT?  is going on?  

From the distance and from photos, other than some dryness near the bottom, there does not seem to be anything wrong with this Bamboo, so why it was removed is among all the other curious things the Zoo does.

I have been noticing the past few weeks there are many areas in the Zoo that are overly dry and wonder why they aren't being watered and kept up.   This was not one of them.  In fact after seeing this yesterday I took photos of many other Bamboo plants in worse shape that are still intact.  

I will also note that after the passing of Padang (Tiger) the Zoo put up a ridiculous sign proclaiming an existing Yard as and "Enrichment Yard", and noting that the Bamboo there created a forest, yet soon after the sign went up, about a third of that enriching "forest" was cleared out.  

So now we have a new Tiger who has by many actions has claimed the Bamboo in his new home as an area of security, and now that secure comfort zone is gone.  Awful.  Note to Zoo Staff, this is what Tigers do in the wild, so you have also taken away something that is an Environment Enrichment.

Taymor, seeking security of a sheltered forest.

Is this one of the new Visionist's vision?

OR is this the vision of the Animal Management Staff?

After a few years the Lion House has recently changed what happens while its open.  It is open from 1-4p daily, and until recently there was most often one of the Cats inside not only out of necessity (lack of yards for number of Cats) but so visitors can see the Cats up close.  There no scheduled feedings but sometimes you could catch a training session where incentive treats are given.  Now, no Cats are inside except when the Keeper Talk (Summer only) is going.  I have heard that having no Cats inside is allegedly because "of complaints about them being in cages."  This seems ridiculous, because they don't live in cages, and that's obvious to anyone with half a brain.  Visitors do come in and I've heard them make comments about the caging, but again half wits who don't put together the whole picture that this is the inside) night quarters and they have access to the Yards thru the doors right there in the caging.  These perceptions could all be settled with a well made video stating as such, and more.  A video about the Lion House History, thru the years and the procedures in place there now, in addition to a bit on the current residents and respectful behavior.  This would go along way, in the Lion House as well other areas (I've suggested similar for the entrance and cafe). There is a TV already sitting unused for seven months.  Providing information would help the Zoo in so many ways, but they seem to be afraid of doing so for the much needed things, while alluding that they do by giving instead puttng forth carefully worded statements.  That said, this reasoning sounds a bit curious and I have to wonder if its not just another untruth to get at what they really want and that is to force the Animals to always be on display.

Note, that at the front entrance there is a sandwich board which states "All Animals have access to inside areas."  This is not true, otherwise many of the Animals did not get that memo.

That said, there was a time a couple years ago when Goober, was not allowed access during the day and sometimes it would be could and drizzly and he was out (with a compromised health issue).  I constantly complained about this until he finally got access all the time.  BUT at one point a Keeper told me to complain to Management because "They want him on exhibit."

So, I have to wonder, because Taymor is new and he has been hiding in the Bamboo, did they deliberately rip out his comfort zone so he would have no choice but to "be on exhibit"?  

Anyway you slice it, this is awful.  There may be a "reason" for this,  but to the Visitor and someone who keeps close watch on things there, what I've written is how it looks to me.

I surely hope they have some fresh new Bamboo ready to plant there, but who knows, they had almost a dozen nice Banana plants that were left to die and still in their dying state sit by the train tunnel.  Ironically, Wishbone once got a Banana leaf and loved it, but not once was one of these trees ever brought over to him.


  1. Unfortunately, you are not far off the mark as to the probably reason why they removed the bamboo wall from Taymor's exhibit. When people go to the zoo they EXPECT to see animals out in the open and get upset when the animal is lying down or otherwise not visible. If they can't see the animals they may not be as likely to return and thus the zoo loses money. I'm not saying I agree with it, although I've been frustrated by the inability to see an animal, but I know we work on THEIR time not the other way around. At least, that's how it should be. The Phoenix Zoo used to have two female Mexican Grey Wolves in a very large, nice exhibit. Well, because of its size and how it was designed, it was often difficult to see them and people complained. So they traded their 2 females to a sanctuary in Prescott (about 90 minutes to the north) who had 4 males. You still don't see the wolves all that often, but since there's 4 now you have a better chance.

  2. I was horrified to see that Taymor's area has been stripped of bamboo that the cats love. Not only was it a nice shady spot for them, they also like to leave their little calling cards for eachother in the bamboo. Sumatrans live in the wild in lush forests. I wouldnt be surprised if the zoo cements the grottos!!! I agree completely with your prospective on all of this. Enrichments keep them active, now... they will just be out in the open with less plant life and still sleeping. How disrespectful of the animals. Again, they should have access inside too.... there are signs posted that if the cats want outside, they have access. I am just shocked they are taking the natural plant life away from these wonderful cats. The zoo is definately going in reverse in modernization.

  3. @Brenda- Thank you for your comment. You are right about expecting to see Animals. It is funny how I'm fine with our Animals sleeping or hiding, whatever, and I always hope that its because, and I know in my heart it is, I know that this is not a circus, they are not there to entertain us, but I do notice the few times I have gone to Oakland Zoo and not see the Cats I am letdown. So, I understand how Visitors could feel, but at the same time I know what's right and that is to give the Animal an option. My seeing an Animal is not more important than what the Animal wants to do. Captive Animals should at least have that kind of freedom.

  4. @Lee- Thank you for your comment. I tell you, I am still sickened by this. I'm trying not to think about it, but when I show up there again, the wall will still be bare. Poor Taymor. ... Yes they should have access to go inside. Its wrong the Cats and other Animals don't have that option, as well its stupid to have the Lion House open and no Cats inside lol! Whats the purpose? AND it takes from a Security guard patroling the grounds. Why not just have the LH open from 2:45 to 3:30 while the Keeper Talk is on.


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