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!