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.

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:

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