Thursday, February 28, 2013

International Polar Bear Day at the San Francisco Zoo - NOT!

As you can tell from the title, another fail on the part of the San Francisco Zoo.  There was not a hint of Polar Bear Day recognition anywhere.  I knew there wouldn't be, but one can always hope that the Zoo Management will someday start Celebrating the Animals that live there.

I just looked up the Zoo's Mission Statement to post in full.  I could swear it used to include the word "Educate".   It reads as such:

> At the San Francisco Zoo, it's our mission to connect people with wildlife, inspire caring for nature and advance conservation action.  <

Not to sound the way this will sound (for lack of a better way to describe it) but as most of what is written on their site sounds like, this is much of the same, a bunch of words that sound wonderful but in my opinion are empty on action.

That said, regardless of whether its (still) in their statement, they do continue to tout themselves as participants in education and are an Animal facility.   So, they should be recognizing these important "Days" and doing something to educate those who visit the Zoo on these days.  I have been there not only on Polar Day, but other International/National Days in support of the plight of other threatened Animals, including Tapirs, Rhinos and Tigers.  The San Francisco Zoo has not recognized any of these days.   There was a post with a link on their Facebook page that's it.   They must think everyone visits their FB page and that's the extent of it.  Myself I only visit it once in awhile (up from never) to see what they aren't posting about.   Funny, they recently started following me on Twitter (I don't follow them) so I guess we are keeping an eye on each other lol!

I went to the Zoo, wearing a pin I made last year to celebrate our girls :)

I hung out with each of the girls for sometime, chatting with them and watching them have some fun.  Ulu was eating some food that was placed on the ledge of her enclosure, so standing up :) and Pike was playing in her pool :)  
I wished them a Happy Day :)

A Docent came by and stood for a second, said a few words to me and then moved on.  I was already bothered about the lack of recognition and then to have a Docent there and not offer anything about the Day topped it off.  I guess she is personally not to blame, because obviously the Zoo Staff didn't inform them, and if someone is not on the internet they might not have access to such information.  That said, my consistent general thought is there are some Docents who should take a more proactive approach in what's going on, not only in the Zoo they Volunteer at, but in what's going on with Animals in general.

Why does the San Francisco Zoo not only recognize these Days, but use the opportunity to make it a visit draw?  There were other Zoo's promoting their participation in celebrating the Day, Chicago's Brookfield Zoo for one.  Check out what they had planned:

The length of all three Polar Bear exhibits was bare with information about the Day.  There were people there who could have been educated.  There are Bears that live there that deserve to be recognized as Ambassadors for their species.  Their wild counterparts are facing a plight that threatens the survival of their species and yet there is nothing, there is no one, out there to bring awareness on this Day.

Why is there no one on Staff at the exhibits to Educate?  There should have been someone there.  A designated time frame, a Staff rotation, What's everyone so busy doing?  Seriously, I don't blame the Keepers or the Vets, all of whom I see always doing something.  Everyone else, the Education Staff, the Docents, Corrine MacDonald Carnivore Curator, Debbie Marin Asst Carnivore Curator, David Bocian Vice President of Animal Care, where are all these people that not one person could be out there at any given time frame to talk to Visitors?  What's the Graphics Dept doing that they can't make signage at the very least?  Where's Director Tanya Peterson?  You rarely (I'd say never but I did see her not long ago, which I'll mention in my Churro Sheep post) see her out on the property.  For someone who is supposedly the face of the Zoo where is she?  She comes to the big events and cocktail parties but she's not out on the grounds.  Many have told me how former Director Manuel Mollinedo used to walk the grounds daily.  I'd like to know what she does full time, I'd like to know what all of them do full time, but I digress.  The whole lack of effort on the Management Staff in so many areas is really sad.

This and all the other Days, even choosing to make their own spotlight days, all of it would help educate people.  I'm pretty exhausted now so I'll wrap up echoing something I've said before and will say again.  More Staff on the grounds, whether its Educating people, or monitoring Misbehavior, is key to keeping Animals respected, both in Captivity (at the Zoo) and in the Wild (our Parks for one).  
I give the girls the news :)
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1 comment:

  1. It's a crime that the zoo doesnt recognize these special days. Oh, they might say it's Int Polar Day but they don't do anything for it. They lazily think that might be "the draw" for a crowd. Uls and Pike are incredible bears that have hit milestone birthdays and are awesome representatives to all endangered species and esp. Polars. It's distrespecful that nothing is done on these special days, esp when it wouldnt cost (which the zoo is cheap), and please. GET SOME EDUCATED PEOPLE THERE to teach. I believe if you are there as an employee or volunteer, you owe it to the animals and the visitors to education. If you don't know the info, study a bit, ok? I love my Uls and Pike, may they continue being the awesome Polars of the world for many many many many years to come!!! Shame on the zoo for NOT recognizing this important day.


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