Wednesday, April 3, 2013

News Article for Sunday March 31, 2013 - SF Examiner Article = Glorified Press Release

I meant for this to be more timely, but with the article the following day and the loss of our precious Zoo Friend Milky Way the next. 

I have been enjoying our Cubbie and even though I am irritated on a daily basis about things that go on at the Zoo, so I just didn't feel like writing about the "issues" I have.  But, it is now two weeks later and I need to do so to keep things moving forward on the blog.

On Easter I was having quite a pleasant day and then this new article came through on Google News Alert.  Seeing a photo of the Director was enough for me to put it aside and read it later.  

The article is titled "SF Zoo Showing Signs of Bright Future Years After Setbacks".   ... You can read it in full at the link below.

Blah, Blah, Blah.  This article is ridiculous.  I'm tired of hearing Director Peterson pat herself on the back. Time, has healed the Zoo in many ways, not her guidance. In fact there are many among Staff who think she has no management skills. As someone who is in the know with what goes on at the Zoo, I completely agree. There are alot of untruths, curiosities, and frankly BS that come out of the Zoo at her direction.   

Where are the days of actual reporting?  Is there no investigative reporters anymore?  I wish News Reporters would do some actual reporting, which would include research and asking questions, instead of relaying what is basically a one-sided opinion that equals a Press Release.

Learning about the issues at the Zoo are not hard to find for anyone who cares enough about the place to find them.   Any reporter could with one Google search find my blogs and pick any one of the issues I bring up and use them as a more interesting angle.  This actually happened once and at least it showed some skill and thought about the subject.  

For one, the lead about the Pachyderm Building: 

>>>On a recent Saturday at the San Francisco Zoo, families ambled through the art deco entryway of the Pachyderm Building. But they were not heading in to see the zoo’s rhinos or hippos. In fact, there were no animals at all behind the red doors.
Instead, the building housed a temporary exhibit about dinosaurs — one of director Tanya Peterson’s first efforts to create an exhibit not directly involving wildlife. It signaled more plans for the zoo’s future, which Peterson wants to take from “good” to “great.” <<<

"Not directly involving wildlife" ???  If anyone had any sense, Director and Writer included, the question should be asked, how has the renovation of the Pachyderm Building affected the "wildlife" that lives there?  Asian One Horned Rhino Gauhati's character has visibly changed since this renovation took place.    Rhino's have sensitive hearing and the amount of noise that comes out of the area that houses these rotating installations, is awful.  (filmed with only six kids in there)

Gauhati lives on the other side of those walls.  The acoustics are horrible and even when he's outside I'm sure he can hear whats going on in what he only knows to be his home.  If the Zoo's "Wellness" for their Animals was priority, renovating the Pachyderm building would have been for the "Wellness" of Gauhati.  But things are continuously done without being empathetic to the Animals.  There are ways to showcase these other ideas (previous was a Movie and Bat Gallery), without them interfering with an Animals home space.  The Zoo (Management) is just too lazy and uncreative to think of them.

Bottom line, there's a question that goes with her statement.   There are alot of questions.  Why is there no articles asking these questions?   I'm asking them.  Other Visitors who care are asking them.   Yet every time an article about general Zoo update (not Animal Birth or Sports related Naming) comes out, its the same old fluff?   There's the "pat" on Peterson's back, there's the stale Tiger event, its the same old.   I challenge someone with a byline to write something meaty about the Zoo.  You don't even have to go further than my blogs for research.

Another classic quote -  

>>“Zoos are the last haven for a lot of endangered species. So if you care about global conservation, you’ve got safe harbors in these zoos.”<<

"Safe Harbors"?  This would be comical if it weren't so sad.  There is Human trash there everyday tormenting the Animals. Yet the Zoo under Director Peterson lets this happen by ignoring these incidents. People are constantly over the barriers, yelling at the animals, throwing stuff into enclosures.  Does she address how she's going to fix these problems? NO!  Instead she spews her dreams of grandeur while waiting for another tragedy to happen.

I want to read an article and have these questions asked and answered.

*What's being done to deter Visitors from breach barriers at the Animal Enclosures?   With so many instance of such, why isn't there more Security on the grounds? 
*Why is the Zoo's Mission to Educate, yet there is no Education on how to behave in the Zoo = A place Animals live?

*Why are choices to spend money on such rotating installations a priority over upgrading Animals enclosures? 

This article mentions how old the exhibits are, well 
*Why hasn't anything been done about them?

Allegedly there was money in place years ago for both a new home for the Chimps and for the Bears.  Who knows where those funds went, but that's a gone-by as the future of the Zoo seems to be building new areas to bring in new animals and screw the ones that have lived there 30/40 years.

*Why do we have a new Playground under construction, yet the Animals rarely get play things and live in homes that scream for upgrade attention?

The Oakland Zoo built a new state of the art Animal Hospital.  The San Francisco Zoo is building a Playground.
You tell me which facility has Animal Wellness as a priority?   The one that doesn't keep shoving it verbally down the public's throat, but shows it in actions.

I am hurt everyday by the decisions that are made at the Zoo that don't have the Animals who live there's best interests as priority.    I'm tired of everything they say these days is Wellness this, and Wellness that.  In my opinion its all patting themselves on their backs and blowing smoke up ours.   FYI Wellness is a given and one that hasn't been proved in so many ways.  Ask Wishbone.   

Another quote:
>>> "Peterson may not seem like an obvious choice to run a zoo since she has little training with animals. She said her respect for animals comes from her mother’s side of the family, all of whom were ranchers. Her animal-caring skills were the basic 4-H and cat-and-dog rescue type." <<<

She is not the obvious choice.  The obvious choice would be someone who actually cares about the Zoo and the Animals that live there.   I could name a handful of people who could run the Zoo better, myself included.  I know some will laugh at that, but at least I have the passion and obviously the brains since alot of what I write about seems to make its way into the Zoo.  Being able to raise funds (mostly not even for the right things) does not make someone a good Manager, which is what the Director position is about.  BUT it seems that becoming Zoo Director is about who you know and not how much you care.  Which also goes for other Management Staffers.

Director Tanya Peterson is a fundraiser with social and economic status.  Those who support her doing anything more than fundraising, specifically being the Director, apparently are of the same.  They are those that don't care, or those who fear her.  It is allegedly common knowledge that the layoffs she refers to are people who have worked there for many years.  People who probably had ideas or know more about the Zoo than she does so she's demoted them or gotten rid of them.  There's a lot of house cleaning to do there and sadly no one with authority over the Director wants to sift thru the issues and do it.

She says "Respect"?   This is a woman who (among other things) allowed Wishbone the Andean Bear to continue to live on a concrete surface (as he had done for 20+ years of his life) when it was known that he had bone and joint issues.  He continually fell because of the pain from these issues, eventually having to be put down after becoming paralyzed from the literal pounding to death his bones took daily on concrete.  An Animal who was completely there mentally, yet lose use of his legs due to the "habitat" he was forced to live in.  He would still be alive today if all these so called caring people in authority at the Zoo gave him a soft surface to live on.

UG,  I could go on and on, but I can't re-read anymore of this to even make many more comments.  The whole thing makes me sick.   I'm not the only one who feels this way.   I'm just one of the only ones who actually says what I think.   

So many of us who care about the Zoo, long-time Visitors and those I've talked to on the Animal Staff, want the Zoo to be all it can be for the Animals.  We know that in doing that, the Zoo becomes all it can be for the Visitors as well.  Those of us on the outside would love to be in the inside, working to make the Zoo all that it can be.  Those who are on the inside want to make what they have better.    Building new areas and other costly things before "taking care at home"  is not better.  Its ignoring instead of fixing.  

I also believe that there are alot of people who buy this fluff that the Zoo and Media is selling.  Not only the Public, but the San Francisco Zoological Society and its Board Members, Donors and the San Francisco Recreation and Park.  No one questions anything.   Why?   Apparently its as simple as they just don't care.  Because if they did they would see.   Its because of those people that the Zoo will remain mediocre, never reaching its potential AND most important, the Animals who live there will never be the priority.

To those people I say, at the rate its going the Zoo will be one of a few things in the future.  Non-existent because it never reached its potential.  Non-existent because they couldn't recover from another tragedy.  OR  because they continue to waddle in mediocrity it will remain just the same, a place people come and don't really care about, because they were never taught to.   

This article ends with a quote from the Zoo's leader

>>“This is firstly a preserve and a park, a beautiful park,” she said. “And it is a unique way in an urban environment to connect with wildlife.”<<

Well all I can say is, this is how I see the Urban's Connecting with Wildlife.  Good Luck with THAT!

I will also add these links to a posts I made in regards to the caring words the Director puts forth about the Animals who live at the Zoo.

As with all posts,
please expand comments
for additional insight and information.
Check back as I reply to all comments.
Contact the San Francisco Zoo Director Tanya Peterson
if you want your voice heard.
Thank You for taking the time to read
about things that matter to me.


  1. Lee (Padangs best friend)April 14, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    I agree with absolutely everything that you mentioned, I can hardly add more to it. If the zoo would only look at just a few comments that people made today on the new baby tiger, they mentioned, "adorable, but sad they live on concrete"..... this is what people see, ALL visitors see. The wellness program is just a lazy excuse to do nothing. Wellness is supposed to be a given. Enrichments should be a major part of wellness but that was taken away because of political reasons and just meaness of certain curators. Poor guac and having to listen to the noise all day from the pacy bldg. He has clearly been "dissed" by zoo personnel. Poor Taymor and Shastya have never been given an enrichment and just sleep their days away. I go to the go once a week and havent seen Shastya for weeks and weeks. I could go on and on but I see such disrespect from the zoo of the animals. Thank you for all the info you share on your blogs. I hope and pray that people in power over the zoo politics gets a clue and does something to enhance the lives of these incredible animals. If any of those reading these blogs are donors, etc..... please see that this blog exposes the absolute in truths and not by zoo officials that just want to keep their jobs til a higher ambition comes along.

    1. @Lee- Thank you for your comment, support and recognizing the situation at the Zoo. Too many people wear blinders, not sure if they just don't care or it just isn't worth their energy to do anything about it, whether thats in writing or in action. Sad. Only the Animals suffer and people are supposed to care. ... The Zoo doesn't do much Education about the actual Animals that live there. That is why there are misconceptions, like the Cats living in cages on concrete. Poor Guahati is right. I really feel bad for him. The Enrichment issue, I do want to be clear to readers that when you or I mention Enrichment (and I have noted this in detail in other posts) we are refering to a certain type of Enrichment. The Animals do get Enrichment, whether its varied and illicits excitement or is even daily, who knows. I haven't seen much of it in person or in Zoo produced photos. The few Enrichment photos they did post were of Toys we made. I've already written so much on this anyone reading this can search the blog for more. I will say since you mentioned Taymor and Shastyuh, I acutally saw them with treats last week, that were placed in an area where they had to search for it. I was happy to see this. I do wish they had fun Toys tho because those incite varied visual and tactical enrichment, more than their regular metal bowl or plain box. This all said, I would love to be able to alert the Board Members and Donors to this blog. Anyone who can help with that go for it!

  2. You are doing a great job of investigative reporting yourself. I love the photo at the end. And the clip from the dino exhibit is very telling. Wish you had videoed the kids too, I wonder how much connecting with wildlife they were doing, vs. running around and yelling! I so much agree about "world-class learning exhibits" not having much to do with the welfare of the real living and present animals. It is just disheartening nowadays, I think it is the state of the world, that people have to be entertained in a glitzy way to get them out of the house and away from their high tech devices. So the solution is more high tech exhibits? The zoo should be a place to get away from this. But funding remains a problem, and this is true in all sorts of artistic enterprises and research institutions. Sad, is all I can say. Animals are valuable for their own sakes. Just as humans should be...

    1. @Anonymous- Thank you for your comment and support. I try to just present things as I see them, through an empathetic eye. If you look at things that way in any space, it may seem like investigating, but its really right there on the surface in most instances. ... I deliberately did not film any of the children. I didn't feel like it was necessary if I posted how many there were and It just didn't feel like the right thing to do. They were not looking at any of the informative information, just per usual running wild. Parents are lazy, I rarely hear them trying to educate the kids. I think they use the Zoo as entertainment, much like open air TV. So it is sad that once out in nature no one is teaching kids how to respect animals and to want to learn about the ones they are seeing. Animals aren't high tech so learning about them doesn't need to be. Just like building a glitzy playground shouldn't be how the Zoo thinks money needs to be spent.

  3. Thanks for sharing your insights and observations - I do hope that someone with some authority reads them and can do something about the way the zoo treats its existing animals. Clearly she needs to look at how any change, no matter how insignificant it seems to her, will impact the existing animals as a start - good grief!

    "Wellness" seems to be a catchphrase that Director Peterson uses so that people will think well of her, but it's not apparent what is being done to back up her words. Seems like most of what she is doing is for children, and not animals. It's heartbreaking.

    and p.s. has anybody heard from Terry Maples recently?

    1. @hazel- Thank you for your comment and support. I would love for those in authority who regardless of whether they are social friends of Director Peterson or not, can be unbaised and see the Zoo's issues as well as what's working. That would mean they would have to care and maybe they just don't? .. You are right about Director Peterson. I think something that she and by proxy other Management and Donors think is that catering to the Humans who Visit is the priority, when it shouldn't be. Its an Animal Park. They should be the priority. The argument will be well the Humans bring in money, ... Yes but the Humans will stil bring in money if the Animals are well taken care of, Education about them is better, ... The people will come and they will be endeared. Its so easy. ... LOL Terry Maples. I think I read he did a presentation for Docents I think. I also saw the Zoo was hiring for a position that sounded like what he was doing???


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