Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter at the San Francisco Zoo - Will there be Easter Enrichment?

Did the Easter Bunny visit the Animals who live at the Zoo?  OR Will yet another Holiday pass where they don't get fun treats?   Admittedly I think I saw what looked like sunken in mache eggs outside the Lion House but I'm not sure.   I hope I'm right, but even if there is a few, it still didn't appear to be enough for all the Cats and then what about the other Animals?  So the point of this post is still relevant.  That point would once again be, that the San Francisco Zoo provides no fun "toy" type Enrichments for the Animals for Holidays, Birthdays, or any days. If they do its on the rarest of occasion and minimal.   The most along those lines I've seen in the past couple years, is some painted boxes (if they are lucky to have that additional stimulation) otherwise most of it is grocery bags and boxes supplies come in.  

I used to go on Easter, I went last year, but there were no "toys" for the Animals.  I sat here on St Patricks Day and a stream of photos from Zoo's I follow on Facebook were posted of Animals getting Holiday themed Enrichment.  Yet another year has started and no Holiday fun has been given to the Animals at the San Francisco Zoo.  Nothing on Valentines Day, nothing on St Patricks Day, nothing for International Polar Bear Day, nothing for Mardi Gras, NOTHING!  Oh wait, Belozi (Male Black Rhino) got some Football themed Enrichment, but that is only because the SFZoo likes to get in on anything Sports related that might land them in the News.  They will pick an Animal and pimp it out for Media attention.   That is why we have many Animals who have been renamed a 49er  (poor Belozi is now Boone) or a Giants player.   

I'm not sure why they can't give the animals something, other than they just don't care or are plain lazy.  There are Staffers whose job it is to organize such things.  When such Staffers didn't like that my friend Lee and I were making Enrichment Toys (both because they personally didn't like us, which was more important than the Animals enjoyment AND because we were doing something they were supposed to be doing as part of their job) we were pushed out.  The Carnivore Curator said to me, "Give us a chance."  Well I've been waiting  Two and a half years now and I still don't see any Enrichment Toys on a regular basis let alone Holidays.  Interestingly enough, the word "Enrichment" used to be there "glory" word, but since they can't produce that, they have been touting "Wellness" the past year.  Its all bullocks as no other Zoo uses the word Wellness, but every one uses Enrichment.  Its apparent that they and their Dr Do-Little Maples made that up so they had something to pat themselves on the back about. In my opinion Wellness should be a given and should have been for years.

The zoo spotlights the Humans on Holidays instead of spotlighting the Animals for the Humans.  The Zoo is supposed to be a place to Learn about and View Animals, yet nothing is done to highlight them as part of their Events.  Its just sad.  These animals live in captivity and need something fun to do for at least a short portion of their day.  When we did Toy Day every Saturday for months, the Cats were up and active for at least three hours.  While the Keeper got the Toys ready, while they watched her bring the Toys out for each Big Cat, and then when it was their own turn.  Now the Cats are never active.  The poor Chimps, the get so excited to get stuff, yet they always get the same old stuff too.  They have been getting the same Halloween buckets for the past two Halloweens.  I was so happy when this Halloween finally came around so they were in theme.  Do we think this year maybe they will get Easter baskets?  Target has them for less than three bucks.  Do we think there will be a Birthday for the Girls on April 25 (their estimated Birthdays as listed in the Chimpanzee Studbook)?  No.  Miss Tallulah passed away without one and she was the oldest living Female in a Zoo.  Cobby (the Male) hasn't had one since 2009 when Lee and I basically shamed them into doing one because we said we were bringing him a Birthday Card.

Anyway you get what i'm saying, the SFZoo does not provide much fun for the Animals.  The staff in charge of Enrichment there rarely makes things that are fun.  I don't get it.  AND if they were doing it we'd see it.  
Instead the Enrichment Photo Gallery continues to have only two photos in it, since all the others they used were stolen from Lee and myself and used without permission, to which we told them to take them down.  The one of Jahari (Lion) that is the thumbnail may very well be one of Lee's but she can't find the original file, yet it goes uncredited as well is not a part of the gallery when you open it.  AND the two photos in the gallery don't show any Enrichment Toys that were made and hasn't for over a year.  

They note in this link they make paper mache' creatures when the only ones ever made were by Lee and I.

While you have the flip-side put forth by the Houston Zoo who has a Facebook page called

The Zoo does alot of what I call "promotional allure".   The other day they posted (on Facebook) a photo of Sea Lion Henry with a Egg shaped Jolly Ball.   Which alludes you to think that the Animals do and will get themed treats.  When in reality this is one of his regular toys.  On St Patricks Day there was another such post to which I asked in so many words, What kind of fun Holiday themed treats did the Animals get?  They obviously gave them none, so they took down not only my comment but their whole St Patricks Day post.
I've asked about Easter lets see what happens.  

This all said, I leave you with a post I made from Easter Day 2010.   It was a rainy day and I went solo to visit my Big Cat Friends and their Keeper Barb whose no longer there :(  provided each and every one of them with something to celebrate the Holiday and most important to celebrate THEM!

And a link to Easter fun this year at the London Zoo where Jae-Jae, one of  "Leanne's" (Skylar) boys from her previous litter now lives.  He and his girlfriend Melati got paper-mache eggs!

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  1. Good points all! There's no good reason for there not to be enrichments at the SF Zoo. Have you emailed this to the director? Let's get something started!

    1. @BeautyTruthLoveFreedom - Thank you for your comment. I like your enthusiasm! I wish there was something that could be done. The Director is well aware of everything I write/say. No one cares if the Animals get this type of Enrichment, which was called "high yield" by the former Big Cat Keeper who thought it was very neccessary. Its odd that the SFZoo doesn't find value in it, yet most other Zoo's and Sanctuary Facilities do. They are just uncaring that the Animals sit around bored all day and too lazy to do anything about it. I know that some Keepers try, but their hands are also tied by their Curators who are the ones at the next level that don't care. Its pretty disgusting and the only way for things there to change OR "get started" is to get rid of all the incaring people who don't do their jobs at the optimum level, from the Director down to the Curators.

  2. Definitely good points, Kim. I really miss the amazing enrichment that you and Lee used to make on your own time, with your own resources for the zoo friends. I can't believe that you got nothing but grief over it. The animals obviously enjoyed it so very much, and the zoo guests also really enjoyed, it was great to see the crowds that would gather to see the big cats do something other than sleep. I never heard anything but wonderful comments from the guests. *Sigh* Thanks for the wonderful memories, and for contributing to their, and our, happiness!! <3

    1. @divanicachica- Thank you for your comment. I miss doing those Enrichments too! I know we all enjoyed it, us, you guys/visitors/keepers/and most important the Animals. They are the ones that have suffered. It seems like another lifetime ago. Thankfully I have been able to make stuff for other captive Animals. You are right, aside from the few Keepers that were involved, no one else ever thanked us. Not the Curator, not the gal whose job we were doing, not the Director, no one. That just shows the kind of people that are in the Management Staff. Never cared about that becaue we did it for the Animals, everyone elses enjoyment was a bonus!

  3. I miss doing all the special enrichments with all the paper mache and the absolute joy it brought to the cats and bears. (all taken away because of the personal hatred that certain curators had for us because they were not doing THEIR JOBS). It cannot be healthy for the animals to not be getting enrichments and just sleeping their days away now. (so much for wellness,NOT)... Wellness has gotten worse. and.... the poor chimps, now we just wait for halloween to come around again so their enrichments can be in style again, SAD !!!! The only time to zoo does anything for any animals is if some ballplayer makes a home run I guess. Someone above the zoo needs to step in and clean house from curators up.

    1. @Lee- Thank you for your comment. I agree with everything, especially the cleaning house bit. There is too much laziness and not caring. Its a big ol' stagnant situation there. They wallow in mediocrity.


*Thank you for your comment. All comments are appreciated and I try my best to reply back in a timely manner. Sometimes "timely" isn't possible, but I will reply to all comments at some point. Please check back.
*As with all posts, please expand comments for additional insight and information.
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*Contact the San Francisco Zoo Director Tanya Peterson if you want your voice heard within the walls
*Thank You for taking the time to read about things that matter to me.