Sunday, June 16, 2013

Black Rhino Re-Named After 49er Ballplayer - What's Wrong With This You Ask?

OR maybe you aren't asking that at all.  Doesn't mean you shouldn't.

In January the San Francisco Zoo announced it would name its new Black Rhino after San Francisco 49er Alex Boone.  THIS move is a particular sore spot for me and of course I noted my opinion and reasoning in this blog post:

Last Friday, the Zoo hosted a naming ceremony.  As (they) expected it got them much Media attention.  I grabbed this quote from one news article.  

> “There are very few black rhinos left on this planet, so to have one named after me is truly an honor,” Boone said in a news release. “It’s awesome to share a close connection with a black rhino, but it’s even better that we can raise awareness for these endangered species through the Alex Boone Animal Education Project.” <

If Alex Boone actually cared about Animals, he would have, A- Asked if this Animal had a Name already and/or B- Opted to have this Animal keeps its given name out of respect for it.   Its ironic that he's an "offensive" player because I'm offended by this. I think Alex Boone should re-name one of his kids Belozi which is Rhino "Boone"s given name.  

I also know that I'm going to be in the minority in my feeling about this, because most people idolize celebrity and local ballplayers are considered gods in this town. That said, while it absolutely sickens me when Animals are renamed and I absolutely hate when its after a ballplayer, if its at birth, at least there is no real disrespect, which is my issue.  Naming the Newborn Langur Romo was a definite play for Media attention, but at least it was its true given name and like the re-naming of Tucker the Hippo, it wasn't the full name (Giants player Sergio Romo).

The Zoo does this renaming crap for the Money and Media attention it grabs.  No other reason.  And it works.  You can Google SFZoo Rhino Boone and read all sorts of fluff about how great it is to name an Animal after a ballplayer.  I doubt Belozi would agree.  And that my readers is the sad truth.  In fact here's a list of Animals who are sure to be very confused if they are ever transferred to another Zoo as they won't even remember their given names after being disrespected by the SFZoo.

Belozi  ( 5 yrs old)   Black Rhino now dubbed "Boone"
Tucker (10 yrs old)  Hippo now dubbed "Brian Wilson"
Shastyuh (12 yrs old)  Amur Tiger now dubbed "Martha"
Taymor  (6 yrs old)  Sumatran Tiger now dubbed "Larry"

On the 49ers website there is a link to donate to the Alex Boone Animal Education Project.  Don't get me wrong, I have no greif with the alleged Mission of this Project, in regards to providing the opportunity for Kids to come to the Zoo who might not otherwise be able to.  My issue is, the whole thing is presented and worded in a hypocritcal way, but that is no surprise as the text on the website seems like the same mumbo jumbo that comes out of the Zoo in their own press releases.  Either the Zoo wrote this or all PR is just a bunch of play on words with no real substance.

This paragraph is taken from the above mentioned link:

> Your contribution will go to the Alex Boone Animal Education Project, an initiative that brings local youth to the San Francisco Zoo to learn leadership and respect through the theme of animal wellness. It is the mission of the San Francisco Zoo to connect people with wildlife, inspire caring for nature and advance conservation action. <

What a crock.  Sorry to those who buy this, but frankly how can anyone teach another respect when they can't even respect an Animal by letting it keep the only name its ever known?  

Disgusting, the whole lot of them.  SFZoo and SF 49ers.

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.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Joint Zoo Committee Meeting Information

I have long had it planned to post this link for those who are interested in learning more about the Zoo.  When I first started researching the Zoo to learn all that I could, this was one of the resources I used.  I read every monthly entry, which dated back many years.  I want to say ten, but I'm not sure now and actually upon checking for the purpose of this post, I see it only goes back two years now.   I started in 2008, and at that time there was an extensive archive.

At this link you will find three tabs, Agenda, Minutes and Documents.

Note that although information is supposed to be posted to this promptly, it sometimes takes time and even if you contact them, it doesn't happen in the 24 hours it says it will.

Agenda:  I believe is submitted prior to the Meeting, as it sometimes posted even when a Meeting is postponed or cancelled.

Minutes:  They tend to cover what is discussed only in part.  I have found this to be incomplete, as I have been to Meetings.   I wish there was a Stenographer or better yet a Video taken, much like what is done at the City Hall Commission Meetings.  

Documents:  These tend to be the more lengthy presentations by Zoo Staff, that are presented using a Power Point Presentation.

Posted in the Agenda and Minutes you will find a list in regards to Animal Updates.  Each month a list of Acquisitions and Dispositions is provided.   It is for the previous month than the Meeting.  These details are very important to anyone who is invested in the Animals.  I find this most useful because there are many Births and Deaths you don't hear about.  Since the Zoo itself does not note some of these events, (in my opinion for fear of scrutiny), having this information is valuable.  As well, even when I have known about events, the info I get these days is not confirmed because many of the Staff doesn't talk to me anymore.  

That said, one must also keep in mind that all information is provided by the Zoo Staff.  In regard to Deaths, there are no outside autopsies done, so we are at the mercy of the Zoo Staff for cause of deaths.  It has been my experience both in person at Meetings and via stuff I have read online, that information presented to the Commission has at times been questionable in accuracy.  But at least this provides general information.  ... In regards to Deaths, there never seems to be a follow-up on the ones noted as "pending".

Since this post was to provide the public of this resource, I will leave you with the latest Animal Update as an example.    This update is included in the May Agenda.  

 The notes for the May Agenda are:

Note that if certain Staff wasn't so paranoid and secretive, or full of vitriol for me, I would just ask these and other questions, although even then the information I'd probably get would be the "formed" story, which may or may not be the truth.

So, in reading these two items,  the things that are curious to me are that the Female Lion Tailed Macaque passed away (RIP Suana) in April, so now in May they have made the decision to transfer out the Male?  What's wrong with that you may ask?  Well, this species of Monkey has a life expectancy of twenty -thirty years.  This Animal was born at the SFZoo in 1989, so at nearly Twenty-Four years of age (considered a Senior) and the only place he's ever lived, I think he deserves to live out his life in the only home he's ever known.  If they want him to have a companion, bring in a Female.

The other entry of interest is that yet another Fishing Cat Kitten has died after only days after being alive.  I use the word yet, as this also happened in November (2012).  The anticipation of the first birth was evident with the cameras positioned at the nest box. I had seen her as a Kitten and looked forward to her being a Mama.  Very sad outcome.  I feel awful for Goldfish (Female Fishing Cat) and hope for her sake the Zoo does not keep trying to breed her and, if they do try again, they give her some time.

Polar Bear Grotto Construction Has Begun!

This post is a follow-up to this post (which should be read first for back story on the situation that is the Bear Grottos).  It is full of information and photos.

This post was written on June 24, 2012.  In the wake of a year long crusade to bring grass to Wishbone's home (Andean Bear) and his death as a result of being forced to live exclusively on concrete (cement), because the Zoo could not find it in their cold hearts to let this Bear live on a natural surface.  I guess its true, they are only making an attempt at "Wellness" now.  RIP Wishbone.

I saw an idea that I wanted to post in hopes like other things I write, the Zoo would pick-up on and move on, to make the lives of the Polar Bears better.   Something they failed to do for Wishbone.

I suggested they remove the wall between and make the two concrete surfaced Grottos, one large landscaped area.  It would essentially take two things as I noted in that post.  First- Rig a new system so rotating all Bears between all Grotto's.  Second- Crack that concrete and landscape!   I sent this post to Sally Stephens, Chair of the San Francisco Animal Control and Welfare, who sits on the panel of the monthly Joint Zoo Committee Meeting.   Read my next post for more information on what that is.

Four days later at the June 28th, 2012  Meeting:  ... excerpt from Meeting Minutes:

> Committee Advisor Stephens stated that a member of the public had contacted her regarding the bear grottos. With only two polar bears and the grizzly bears the suggestion was made to knock down the walls between two of the grottos to make a larger space. Stephens asked if there were any plans for the grottos. Peterson commented that there have been discussions along this line of combining the two end grottos. A structural engineer is looking at the feasibility as well as increasing the pool size in that area. Bocian commented that a transfer cage is being built which would allow moving the bears back and forth between the grottos. <

So, four days later and only when called out on it, they claim they are "in the process" of doing such about it.   <cough>   IF this was something they had in the works, they would have patted themselves on the back and paraded it out, just like the million times we had to hear about the new playground.

I am not a believer in coincidence.  This much like my suggestion to Director Peterson that the Zoo adopt Winter Hours has become "their own" within days of my suggesting it.  I don't really care as long as it gets done.

Note that this was a year ago and the transfer system had yet to be used prior to the construction (if even now).  Otherwise we would have seen more Grotto rotation in play.  ... I surely HOPE this system was not an untruth and that it, not only was built, but is now being used to allow Ulu access to a pool while this construction takes place and Pike access to grass during the same time.  Because heaven forbid they actually rotate the Polars to the unused and landscaped Grotto that the Grizzlies do not use during the day.  That all said, I also hope this doesn't take years like the Rhino exhibit renovation did, because Ulu is waiting for her new home to be built!   THIS is more important than the Playground!  Do Not Fail these Polars! 

Ulu listening to the construction in her home
and waiting to go back there.

Like I said, I hope the Polars are being rotated and Ulu isn't forced to sit in the farthest corner all day, everyday until this project is finished.   When this project is finished and with the new caging system, both Polars should then be able to rotate between the double wide Grotto, the Meadow and Pike's current concrete home (which should be landscaped next).
Although I missed the capture, it was a joy to actually see part of the wall fall to the ground!  I will be interested in seeing how they secure and cap the end of the wall when done.  I will really jump for joy when that awful un-natural surface of concrete is broken to bits and re-surfaced with landscaping like the current meadow.   Hopefully THAT is part of the plan, because otherwise this is useless.

Note to Zoo, if you expand the pool, well even if you don't, please build it up to look natural like what was done in the Grizzly Grotto.

construction from the side, 
long view of first and second Grottos

straight on view of wall coming down

Seriously, if I hadn't made this suggestion I believe the Zoo would have let Wishbone's Grotto languish with the sign of  "re-design", indefinitely.  OR thrown some wood chips down and tried to bring in another Bear they could force to live on concrete.  Its actually surprising to me that this is finally getting done.  Although I did question in a recent post when this would happen, maybe that got the ball rolling?  

> Not long ago someone relayed a blurb in an internal Zoo email in regards to the future Bear Grotto plans.  ... The part that struck me about what I was told was a quote from the Zoo's illustrious leader Director Tanya Peterson.  After sharing the future plans she added, "This was made possible by the passing of the Spectacled Bear."   Nice Tanya, Nice.   I'm sure Wishbone is looking down glad he was able to help you out by dying.  You're probably waiting for the Polars to die too before you do anything to get those animals off concrete.<

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Questions for Friday (May 31st, 2013)

So as I sit here attempting to finish replying to all the appreciated comments recently, and finish some posts in the works, there are a few things swirling that don't require their own post, but I need to purge.  Another post is born.

So, yesterday I went to see the new Giraffe Calf.  You can read about the two new girls in the post

With this set-up, the question still begs,

Where is Lily the Mother Duiker and her Calf?  

I have posted this question three times now to the Zoo's Facebook page and have yet to get an answer. 


While on the subject of the Disrespected Duikers, which ofen goes hand in hand with Why can't we see Pokemon (Blackbuck), I wonder why can't this space be used during the day for Pokemon?   He is rumored to be behind the wall of this area which is the Ostrich night quarters.  If that is so, why can't he be visible during the day in this area?   Pokemon has lots of Fans!  Give us some Pokemon face-time!


The Zoo continues its trend of not educating the people who work there.   As I stood and watched new girl Amani, a Visitor posed a question to the Staffer there observing.   She asked about Reticulated Giraffes (the kind that SFZoo has) and if there were other kinds.  The Staffer fumbled for an answer before just saying, ".. they have different patterns".    It amazed me that someone who works at a Zoo doesn't even know there are other types of Giraffes and at least the name of another species, such as the Masai, which are also kept in captivity in North American Zoos.

Bititi and Amani, becoming best friends :)

I was surprised to see this being constructed.

It looks nice, and note I know nothng about the reason behind it or what its final state will be, but I will go on record saying I sure hope its an - Enclosed Viewing Area -  by this I mean that the sides that border the exhibits are going to be barriered with plexi/glass, that also extends along the existing "fencing" barrier.  This barrier is about waist high and allows Visitors to hang over into the exhibits of both the Patas Monkeys and the Mandrills.  I have posted about issues I have with many barrier breaching incidents and other breachable spots.  Too many Animals are vulnerable to Visitor misbehavior and in my opinion perimeter additions made to exhibits should be to benefit the Wellness of the Animals and deter this behavior.  So, I certainly hope that this "hut" is not just a - pretty thing for Humans - .