Monday, July 29, 2013

RIP Wakoda - Navajo Churro Sheep Passes

Forever Loved
Forever Missed

My Beloved Barnyard Boyfriend 
Giving me a Smile :)

As painful as this is, I have to finally do this Memorial post for my Precious Friend.  Its been too long, even though I think about him everyday.  The last time it was Monday the 29th, was in April, the day we lost Wakoda.  I can barely look at his photo without sobbing still to this day.    But, I have to honor him with a post, no matter how hard it is, it can't be put off any longer.   The pain will never go away, because I am haunted daily by his passing.  He SHOULD still be here. 

I can not express in words how much this guy meant to me.  I loved him so much and I know he loved me.  I miss him dearly.  I miss his voice greeting me, even before seeing me.  He knew my voice and would call to me even if I was outside the barn still  :)   I miss our hug sessions!  He loved to be hugged!

RIP My Sweet Wakoda
I Love You My Precious Friend
You had a Wonderful, Gentle Soul
I was lucky to know you.

Eternal Wakoda Hugs
You are always in my heart  XO!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Penguin Chicks Don't Disappoint! - Zoo Does ...

Yesterday was the Zoo's annual Penguin Parade.  If you are not familiar with the event, the Penguin Chicks leave Fish School, a behind the scenes area where they learn how to take food by hand, be comfortable around people, and finally swim!  

The event has them waddle in all their cuteness, from the west end of the Lion House to the north side of Penguin Island.  There were five Chicks in the 2013 hatch, four girls and one boy.  They moved quick this year and the youngest girl started out being left behind, but she soon caught up!   

Seeing these little ones is always a treat, they never disappoint to be beyond adorable.  Their main Keeper Anthony Brown always does a great job MC'ing and providing information about them.  The other aspect of the event,, the naming contest, again was flawed.  I say again because last year the gal whose name was drawn, put down a name that was completely disrespectful.  I did a blog post you can search for it if interested.  This year whether intentional or not, the use of the word "drawing" in reference to the naming contest was completely misleading.

The last three of the Zoo's Penguin posts, made use of the words "Royal" and "Prince" marketing this years event to go hand in hand with the birth of the Royal Baby.  I had a feeling they were leading up to wanting this Penguin Chick named after the new Prince, but even I didn't see the way this would play out.   

I thought it was odd that Anthony didn't draw the name (as done previously) before the Parade as noted in the event timeline.  Yet after the event the Marketing (?) guy Danny got on microphone and said, "The name chosen is George Alexander Louis." Gotta say I was surprised but not surprised.   Their marketing of this being a Royal Penguin Chick was literal and by George! they were going to name that Chick after the new Prince, no matter.  My first thought was damn, I should have gone with my Royal option of Windsor (even though I went with first choice Neptune), but not only do I believe the Zoo Staff doesn't even know what connection that has to the Royals, they had a preconceived winning name (to match the Royal Baby) and they searched through the entries til they found one with it.   In my opinion there was no drawing, the name was chosen, just like they stated.  I got no problem with the name, at least its not after a ballplayer, but why not just name the Chick and not even have people think they are entering a fair drawing contest?    The event would have been just as good because the Chicks are the Stars anyway.   

I plan to call the Chick Windsor and the Zoo can call it George Alexander Louis and get all the Media attention that they hope to by doing so.  I heard the other Chicks will be named by money donors.   Will post their names here when they are available.

I had many cute photos and put them together in a Video:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Anonymous" Comments, Opinions = We All Have Them

No one can shake me with their opinions and words against me.  I do not shy away from confrontation.  I am of very strong and confident character, so, I am posting this comment that was made to the previous post I made:

The comment that came in:

> Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Polar Bear Spa? - Lame new "Mist" added to Enclos...":

You might be the most bitter person I know. The Zoo is clearly trying to improve the quality of life of their animals by adding enrichment- why don't you get a life instead of ripping the Zoo for every little decision it makes? Your obsession is at a creepy level.  <

I'll admit that when I was writing that post, like a couple others, I did wonder if it strayed too much from my mission, but I have come to post about all things Zoo that I'm moved to.  If that is construed as "ripping" then so be it.  Believe me, I got opinions about alot more than just the Zoo!  So, sure, having a curiously functioning mister isn't going to make or break the Zoo or more important, an Animals life, but to me its curious and there were other things I've seen along those lines that could be better, so I posted such.  If I hadn't posted the photo of Detroit Zoo's expanded Bear Grotto, I can pretty much guarantee, this expansion would not have even happened.  The Zoo never wanted to give the Andean Bear even a patch of grass. This only happened because they ended up with an extra Grotto and were handed an idea.  Otherwise, they would have put in grass for the Andean Bear and when one of the Grottos became available, the wall would have been knocked down and landscaping would have already been in place.  So, that said, yea, some are issues that are more severe in feeling than others, but I still put stuff out there.  

Aside from the mister issue, which I welcome feedback on topic,  I feel sad for the Animals that there are not more people like me who are rallying for their best interests.  Am I bitter?  You're damn right I'm something of that description.  I prefer to call it pissed.  I'm pissed that the Animals welfare is not a priority.  I'm pissed that money is spent on things for Humans and not the Animals.  I'm pissed that new Animals get brought in while longtime residents like the Andean Bears languish in ancient homes.  I'm pissed because Animals have died from lack of proper long-term care. I'm pissed that some Keepers can't do their jobs how they know best for the Animals in their care, because they are met with resistance or threat of firing.  I'm pissed because so many people that work there and visit wear blinders and everything suffers.  Mostly, these things piss me off because the Animals suffer most and that breaks my heart.

People like "Anonymous" must be under the delusion that I am the only one who has these feelings.  I am surely not, I'm just the one who's vocal about it.  Unfortunately there are many more people who just aren't as sensitive to the same things I see going on.   Does that make me wrong?  No.  Does that put me in the position of being a target for those who don't agree for whatever reason?  Sure.  Do I care?  No.  Not everyone has the same opinion.  Our opinions are driven by what we feel.  I know that I'm true to my soul by speaking my truth always.  That said, my truth is based on personal experience and fact.

So, speaking of truths,  "Anonymous" do you know me?  If so, don't hide behind the Anonymous option, please post your name, or are you one of the many cowards who work at the Zoo?   If its the later and you are just afraid of losing your job, come up to me, I more than welcome that, but most people that work there instead choose to talk about me behind my back.  ... If you don't know me, then don't claim to.

If you do really know me, or have followed my blogs and posts then your evaluation of who you think I am is very off.   BUT you are entitled to your opinion and because such, I am not a coward in anyway and am posting your comment in confidence of that.

That said, I do appreciate when the Zoo actually does something worthwhile for the Animals.  I know enough about the Zoo and have witnessed things with my own eyes, that I can identify those things and not wear rose-colored glasses or ignore the short-comings or worse.   I do not work there, so in addition to that, I don't have to abide by the gag orders put forth by Management.  So, I don't have to fear losing my job in lieu of standing up for what's right for the Animals.

The Zoo has let many an Animal languish with neglect, in care and enrichment.  I'm not saying there has not been good things, but there has certainly been things that are definite truth in what I say. 

Over the past twenty years the Zoo has never cared to do anything, to make the Bears (Polars and Andean) lives any better, except the Keeper effort of putting in the one Meadow. Not even when they knew the Andean Bears bones were breaking down from living on concrete.  ... They kept Inti the Bobcat in a cage for over ten years before making him a proper home to live in.  ... They kept a male Sheep penned up like Veal his whole life, forcing him to develop severe Arthritis for lack of daily exercise, that he recently lost his life because he fell and couldn't get up.  The first to blame in the fall of Wakoda, are the Vets and Curators over the last twelve years, who should have instituted a daily exercise routine for him.  Heartbreaking, both he and Wishbone the Andean would still be here if it wasn't for neglect. ... SO don't bash me for my opinions, as they are backed up by facts. 

Now, on the subject of the "Mist" function for Bears.  My opinion has not wavered and if you look at the other comments, I am not alone in them.  The position of the mister does not apparently add anything "enriching."   If I see that change I will post that.  

If you want to do a blog about all the pro's that you buy into that the Zoo puts forth, I welcome you to do so.  ... I will do my part in documenting things I think are curious, questionable, and of issue.   In doing so, hopefully things will continue to change.  

Pairing "creepy" with "obsession" is alittle attention grabbing and dramatic.

If even a small percentage of Visitors were more sensitive and fact seeking to things there, it would be a better place.  

I will also say that if half the Staff at the Zoo were more "obsessed" about the Zoo, and less about what I'm blogging about, it would be a better place.  If everything at the Zoo were on the up and up, they wouldn't care what I wrote.

In closing I will note that although I have no problem defending my opinions on blog posts, it is not the mission of this blog to defend personal accusations.  So, any further comments of that nature will not be published, because I don't have the time or energy for doing such posts as this one.  It will apply to any future comments of such as well.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Polar Bear Spa? - Lame new "Mist" added to Enclosure

Well, I just don't know what to say about this.   I shake my had and chuckle is what I do.   

So, the Zoo posted to their Facebook page, "Join us this weekend at 10:30 to see our polar bears enjoy a cooling mist in the summer sun."   

For one, "Polar Bears" (plural) is a bend of truth as this Mist function only appears to be hooked up in Ulu's Grotto, and as far as I know, they are not rotating the Polars, even though they should.

Not sure who thought of this, but another thing that ranks up there with the dirt piled in mounds.  Sure it appears good in theory, an added enrichment, but it doesn't function in any way that looks usable as intended or appealing.  In fact I watched Ulu for some time and she never went near it, in fact at one point just looked at it and yes, appeared to laugh.  

As you can see the light "mist" is carried away into the air above.  There wasn't even any wind, so this is useless, other than to water the Eucalyptus Trees above and the grass growing on Mt Ulu <clap!>, there is no fun going on here.  Putting it that high was never going to have any effect on the Bears.  Maybe moving it lower, even over the shelf bed area would have created a "cool room".

The manual spray into the pool like what they do with Pike is more fun for them.

If they wanted to add something "cool" for them, one of these options would have been better.

 rain/water curtain

ground spouts

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Zoo PR Fumble Again - Error in Gorilla Information

First, Congratulations to Gorillas Nneka and Jonesy!   I made a couple entries on my other blog, one which includes a link to a video of the birth which happened while on exhibit!

With news today that Gorilla Nneka finally gave birth to her first babie yesterday, of course I've been reading all the news articles.  One article linked to the Zoo's website  "for more information".   Which leads to a page that provides "information" on the birth and the Parents.  Here's a screencap of the Parent info.

So you ask what's wrong with this.  Well, sadly the Zoo has once again provided information with errors. Seriously, will these fumbles ever stop?   I really don't know if the people they have in PR are just not smart enough to read records or do research or if the Zoo really just wants to take liberties with actual fact. Then there's always option C where they just plain make stuff up.  But, this info is not correct.  

Jonesy (as I like to call him) was given the name Oscar Jonesy (O.J.) at birth.   He was named Oscar for his Father, Oscar, a hand-reared Gorilla born at the Columbus Zoo in 1969 and Jonesy after his Mother, Jonesie II, a wild-born  (captured) Gorilla from Guinea with an estimated birth date of 1961.

 Entry from 2010 Gorilla Studbook
for Father Oscar

Entry from 2010 Gorilla Studbook
for Mother Jonesie

The most recent Studbook available is from 2010.  In this version, Jonesy (O.J.) name appears as  OJ/Rich.
In the 2001 version while still living in Buffalo, his name appears as  O.J.

To me, it would appear that the Rich name came into play as a Donor name while he was living in San Francisco, where coincidentally the exhibit Gorilla World is named after the Donor Family Jones.  There is a little confusion to that thrown into the mix by a notation in a 2005 article, 

> Born at Ohio's Columbus Zoo in 1981 to Oscar and Jonesy II, he acquired the name OJ and moved to San Francisco in 1982. Five years later, he relocated to the Buffalo Zoo, where he was officially Rich and unofficially OJ.< 

That said, the article clearly states that he was named after his parents, not by the SFZoo Chairman as stated.

My friend Dr. Joanne Tanner who studied the SFZoo Gorilla's for many years, sent me this article and is quoted as well.  Her information reflected what I knew to be true as well.  With a bit of interest, facts present themselves.  There should not be so many errors coming out of the Zoo. 

Please visit Joanne's site to learn more about the SFZoo Gorillas past and present.  Its a wonderful resource for anyone interested in Primates.

I will note that I do feel I'm nit picking at things with this, but it really irks me when simple things like the personal information of an Animal is not got right.  Just makes me even more curious when other things appear to not be right, as well what else that even I'm not aware of.  For that reason I post.  I like all the wrong stuff to be documented.

(More) Barrier Breaching - Human Jumps Animal Enclosure Maze to Gain Free Entrance

coming soon!

I heard about this on Monday but haven't gotten to posting about it yet.

Read the news article:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Family Farm Frenzy!

Once again behind in posts.  So many things to do both on blog and off.   I have made space holders for posts since I like things in chronilogical order.  This is the post I have in me to do right now.  Its current and contains things that are in desperate need of attention at the Zoo.  

I will start by noting there are many posts within this blog where you can find details of Humans Gone Wild.  I know that sounds comical and sure its meant to be catchy, but it also is point blank.  When I walk into the Zoo I feel like I have entered a place where people are allowed to run wild.   I look around and see people out of control.  There seems to be few places in Society where Humans have any sense of personal control, or empathy.  The Zoo is no different.  There is very little guidelines given for behavior or respect.  I can not say none, because I have witnessed Security giving speeches to school groups as they enter.  Sadly I have also witnessed the same school groups act the fool while in the Zoo, even the adult leaders.  That said, these speeches are still needed, and the Zoo should be giving these same speeches to ALL that enter, not just school groups.  I won't say more on this because I have before written much about misbehavior and what things the Zoo should being doing to deter. Search "barrier breaching" and other "misbehavior" within this blog.

This post is isolated to the Childrens Zoo Family Farm.  This past week was out of control.  In March I noted in a post about misbehavin' :

> Additionally, there needs to be some at-a-glance (BIG lettered) signage at the Family Farm entrance, telling people not to bring in food, not to feed the animals anything but food they sell there, not to bring in any plastic bags to hold the food in or have hanging out of pockets/purses, not to sit on the animals, not to pull on their horns, not to chase the animals.  Good Grief I have recently and constantly seen people do all these things, which included an adult try to sit on a Dwarf Goat, put a Lollipop w/stick in a Goats mouth, and watch a Sheep throw up a plastic baggie. <

Such instances are an every visit occurrence.   With summer in full swing its only worse.  The Zoo needs to take notice!   Zoo Management is fine with people running wild all over the place and while it is annoying and may only be "potentially dangerous to the?"  Animals in the Main Zoo, there is DIRECT ANIMAL ABUSE at the Farm.  These are free roaming Animals.  They are vulnerable to Humans.  The above instances I noted of people sitting on Animals and feeding them unauthorized food, as well bringing in dangerous items like plastic bags, is not only abuse, it can cause the death of one of these Animals.  I have also witnessed the Animals being hit and a constant stream of trying to steer the Goats Horns.

There needs to be more signs not to do these things.  There needs to be a Volunteer or Docents at the gate reminding people who enter the Farm.  There needs to be more Volunteers/Docents monitoring the yard.   It can not be left up to the Keepers.  The Keepers job is to take care of the Animals. It also can't be left to one Keeper to Volunteer to monitor two yards and two barns.   Monitoring the Visitors should be part of what the Docents help doing, both at the Childrens Zoo and the main Zoo.  I never see Docents at the Farm.  Why isn't there a better organizing of what they do?  ... That all said, there needs to be a limit to the number of people who can be at the Farm at one time.   Too many people for the amount of eyes watching the Animals should not be happening.

There is a sign when you enter the CZ:

This rule is never upheld. 

Monday I was at the Farm.  It was fine til a large group of kids from the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center came in.  They appeared to have only two leaders.  The frenzy then began and it was a sea of chaos in purple shirts.  Really awful and out of control.  There was no supervision from their leaders. The kids were running and screaming all over the place.  They were making fun of the Animals, yelling at them, it was really disgusting.  Why do they even come to the Zoo?   

Does the Zoo send out a guideline for behavior in writing to these groups prior to their Visit?  They should.  Does the Zoo provide them with a guideline in person when they arrive? They should.  Does the Zoo ask them to leave if they are misbehaving?  They should.  None of this behavior, which is not isoloated to this one group, should be allowed. 

My friend put several dollars into the food machine and these kids came up and took her food.   There was a point when they were so out of control, the Keeper had to put the food machines away.   I contemplated leaving but stayed as extra eyes.   There was a particular gang of four that made fun of a few certain Goats and in fact stalked them when they tried to seek refuge into the barn.  Finally after 45 minutes of this I said something to them.   Disrupting my right to enjoy my Visit, I asked them, "What's wrong with you?"   Telling them that they were one of the worst behaved kids I have ever seen and why don't they enjoy the Animals and learn about them, rather than run all over the place screaming and making fun of them.  They were silent after that, but seriously, what is wrong people who behave this way?  I see it in adults as well, so I guess there is no hope for society in general if adults act this way and therefore do not teach kids to act any better.  That said, when they come to a facility like the Zoo it is then up to the Zoo to set behavior guidelines.  Anyway,  I finally alerted the leader, who was sitting on a stump ignoring the behavior going on, even after being told by the Keeper in duty that the kids were wreaking havoc, he still wasn't monitoring them.   I get kids run around and yell and all that, but this is not the place for it.  This is a place where Animals are free roaming and where they live.   Its not a friggin' Fun House.  Visitors need to reign in the frenzy and learn to act appropriately in public.  Places like this should be somewhat of a controlled environment, so all Visitors have a good time.  I am not the only person there who was appalled and upset by this behavior.

That incident, which I've witnessed similar many times, really affected me.  Not that the Zoo cares at all about me, but I left there really hyped up and immediately felt anxious and nausea, which I haven't been able to shake all week.  Just writing about this I can feel a physical upset.  

When I visited on Thursday, there were no school groups at the time, but there was limited eyes on the crowd and I found this on the ground.  

Baggie of Raisins

I see alot of stuff at the Zoo, everytime I'm there.  I sometimes feel like I'm guided to be in that place at specific times.   While that thought might be alittle too spiritual for some, it is true that I seem to be witness to things for a reason.   Thankfully I was there to see this before one of the Animals got it.  People don't need to bring in unsecured snack bags or other items that can cause harm tot he Animals.  A sign needs to be posted that says to keep them secured in purses, zip pockets, whatever but not where they can fall to ground or an Animal can snatch from hand or pocket.   If your kid needs treats that bad eat them before or after visiting the Farm.  ... This also goes hand in hand with feeding the Animals anything other than the Zoo treats for purchase.   I heard that the day before on Free Day (another Run Wild at the Zoo event) was out of control with people trying to give the Animals unauthorized food.   

San Francisco Zoo, take note and protect these free roaming Animals at the Family Farm.  

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.

The Duiker Go-Round

coming soon!

Animal Issues, Who You Gonna Call?

coming soon!

San Francisco Zoo full of ... Staff who like to pat themselves on the back!

coming soon!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Polar Bear Notes - Bear With Me

I know, total pun, but just, since I will probably be posting about the Polars a few more times, as I observe Ulu in her new home for extended periods of time.

When I got to Mt Ulu on Friday, there was ice all around, in varying stages of melting.  Some of the ice was icee treat size, a couple were just huge blocks.  Its always great when the Bears get treats, sadly Pike did not have any.  I get that they were celebrating Ulu's new home, but the treats should be equal. Always!   ... Thankfully Keeper Sandy came round and gave Pike a live fish in her pool.

So, the ice.  Its not a secret I hate the loose dirt.  So, I hated seeing some of the ice in the loose dirt.  Seriously, besides making the predicted mud when it melts, what the heck is Ulu supposed to do with it?  Is she expected to play with a big block?  Eat the dirt covered icee treat?  As well I don't like her food being thrown in it either, so that she has to eat dirt along with it.  

 Another small icee treat
in the dirt
that Ulu ignored

You can view Ulu being fed thru the new feeding fence.  Something I actually love about the Mt Ulu Grotto.

Additionally, like Wednesday, I never saw Ulu in or on the dirt mounds.  Each time she walked into the Mt Ulu Grotto, she walked around the mounds.  

Like I noted in my previous post, it doesn't matter that she has a pool to clean off, she will always have dirt grit on her feet anytime she walks on that loose dirt.  ... Also even after just being in the pool, once she walked around the dirt, and shook, a spray of dirt came off her.

Since the brainiacs who designed this craziness apparently (since Ulu doesn't go to those doors) didn't think of it, I'll note it here.  To avoid this and so that Ulu can can clean footies at the very least when she goes in for the night, her doors should be through the Concrete Grotto.  Planting grass/sod instead would have avoided this completely.

Also note that I haven't seen Pike in the Meadow.  Poor girl is probably confused since she was rarely rotated regularly on the every other day basis that she was supposed to be.  That said, she probably never knows when its her turn.  She should be using the doors to the Meadow so she can get used to knowing she has permanent access.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Observing Ulu in her new "Mt Ulu" home ;)

As I started this post earlier I had not yet seen what I just did.   That being a video the Zoo has posted to their youtube channel.   This is the blurb I just posted to my other blog

> July 4, 2013 - Well, well.  The Zoo has posted a video of Ulu going into her new home.  Its  wonderful piece because I love Ulu and am very happy for her!  BUT Debbie Marrin-Towey, Assistant Carnivore Curator who speaks on the video is such a hypocrite!  Hearing her talk about how exciting it is for everyone, because its going to improve the quality of life (for the Polars) makes me want to vomit.  When I was on my crusade to get the Andean Bear just a patch of grass/soft surface she point blank told me, "He doesn't need it" and  "He told me he didn't want grass", then laughing, like to was funny that he lived on concrete most of his life AND knowing that he had bone issues from such an existence.  Hey Debbie, what about the quality of Wishbone's life?

ADDED ...  I should have also included this link


Moving on.

Yesterday I saw Ulu in her new home!  I still believe this is an incomplete version of how best to make this renovation, but I was so happy to see her have access to a pool.  Allegedly she has not had access to a pool in the two months the construction has been going on.  Last week I observed her with dirt caked not only on her body but in her Eyes.  She was squinting and itching the whole time I was there.  I will do a following post on that soon (I hope).

Hi Uls!  I see you!

Again,  I still believe the loose dirt mounds are not the way the landscaping should be, but I am so happy to to see this expansion come to fruition.  Ever since I first posted the photo my friend Valerie Abbott took at the Detroit Zoo (see previous post), I have wanted this for these Bear Grottos. I have never liked the Bear Grottos.   I finally crusaded for changes in 2010, for the sake of Wishbone the Andean Bear, who was the only Bear who didn't have any access to a natural surface.  Those efforts were ignored.   It was only after the Zoo let Wishy die on concrete, did they do something.   So seeing this, I almost cried.  Just seeing Ulu with so much space around her was a wonderful thing.  It is bittersweet as I also thought of Wishy and how much he would have loved the opportunity to live on a soft surface.  But, NO ONE cared!  As well his companion Annie and Pike's companion Andy, both who died living their lives on concrete.  It is a disgrace that the Zoo never made getting these precious Beings off of cement and onto a natural surface, a priority.  Please read my 'project get wishbone grass' blog for all the details on the Zoo's lack of Empathy towards these Bears.  Modifications to these ancient Grottos should have taken place during the last twenty years, like what was done to the Big Cat Grottos.  No reason except for lack of caring.

Ulu was so happy! She was smiling the whole time I was there visiting with her.   I had to laugh as the first thing I noticed was the two huge holes in Mt Ulu lol!  I said, "Good job Uls!"  She's not only taking down the mountain, she's probably looking for her old pool!

Another issue with this loose dirt other than what I wrote in the previous post, is exactly what my afterthought was, she is just going to always be dirty.  I saw it while I was visiting her for over an hour and a half.  She'd go in the pool, be clean and then walk to the dirt to get inside and up to her shelf area and have it caked to her feet.  Ulu doesn't mind the dirt, she loves the Meadow.  Rolling in the grass and chopping on it (which obviously there is none for her here), she is often really dirty which comes off when she gets in the pool.  With the loose dirt, anytime she even walks into her night quarter access she is always going to have dirt stuck to her feet.  Unless they are going to have her night quarter access be thru Wishy's Grotto (the cement one) then there is no way for her to go inside for the night without having dirt all over her feet.  Which also means, anytime she has an itch or rubs her face, she will get dirt in that spot, and that spot will often be her eyes.

AND what happens when it rains?  Won't that loose dirt just turn to runny mud?  Its Just a big FAIL.

Checking out her new home while lounging in the shade.  Super dirty,(and itching) even just after a swim.  Poor girl. ... I will also note that I didn't see her walk on top of any of the dirt mounds, choosing to walk around them to get up to the shelf and into the night quarters.

Even though its not all that it should be, all that it could have been or can still be, at least it feels really open aired, having part of that wall down, makes it seem so unconfined by concrete.  Next they need to rotate Pike to the Grizzly Grotto and knock down part of the wall between her Grotto and the Meadow.    Speaking of the Meadow, with this new double wide space and the alleged transfer system, will Ulu still get to go to her beloved Meadow and will Pike get to enjoy the new expansion?

Uls says Hi!

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.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Mt Ulu - Polar Bear Grotto Renovation = Head Shake

The continuing saga of the Bear Grotto renovation.  I still have one post in draft, but I must post about what I saw during yesterdays visit.

First I will note that I started writing about the Bear Grottos in 2010 when I crusaded for the Andean Bear to get some grass.  No one cared about him.  After he died from complications from living on concrete, I wrote a blog post that included the photo below.  You can read the post in full here:  As well, I wrote one last month that contains updated information.

 Detroit Zoo Bear Grotto 
Photo courtesy of Valerie Abbott
View her wonderful Animal Photos

In the above mentioned post, I suggested the Zoo knock down the wall (as the Detroit Zoo did) between the Andean Bear Grotto and the neighboring Polar Bear Grotto, to make a double sized LANDSCAPED home for Ulu.  That would then give both the Polars daily access to landscaped areas.  Ideally when that was done, landscaping could be added to Pike's concrete Grotto.  The photo is pretty straight forward.  

Last week I saw the soil in huge mounds in Ulu's former home.  They had filled up Ulu's pool, which to start my gripe, I think was the wrong thing to do.  During this construction Ulu has been in the neighboring Meadow (the only shared natural landscaping the Polars have) for near two months.  If I was planning the renovation, I would have kept "her" pool so that she had something that was familiar and not just a completely new area.   BUT I care about the Animals on an empathetic level and the Zoo does not.

So, imagine my reaction yesterday when I saw the mounds of loose soil still there, but with seedling trees and newbie plants.  Apparently THIS was the extent of the landscaping!!!  Seriously???  

Sure its better than concrete BUT again, Seriously?  I'm sorry but this is outrageous.  They knock down a concrete wall to make more space and then basically put up a dirt wall.  I hate to be a hater, but this is the stupidest thing I think I've seen them do yet.  AND I heard it was a collaboration effort lol!  What it was, was a lazy effort.  Do they think Ulu needs to go on an expedition?

There is almost enough soil in there to cover the concrete surface of BOTH Grottos which I thought was the obvious whole idea.  To make a natural living space.  Not to make loose dirt mounds in one Grotto and leave the other concrete.  Ridiculous.  

As well, having mounds all over instead of flatter terrain, it creates obstacles that chop up the space, voiding it of the point of expansion. You can see from the view of this photo the mount smack in the middle of the yard.

From what I hear, the concrete Grotto will remain :(
When it should have been
completely landscaped with grass.

^ AND the Mt Ulu yard ^
Should have allowed for her familiar pool to stay
and the surrounding concrete be landscaped with grass.

Even with them not leaving her familiar pool, the reverse should have been the finished renovation.  there should be landscaping around the pool in the concrete Grotto.  The whole thing just looks a mess to me.  A real botched effort.
I can't believe that something so simple and obvious is such a brain drain for the Zoo Staff.  I just don't get it.  It's really upsetting.  Poor Wishbone died on concrete, because no one would give him grass.  And now they can't even get it right when they venture into a renovation.  What is the problem with landscaping these Grottos in a natural way?  Ulu don't need to be knee deep in dirt, she needs a grassy Meadow.  The only Bears to get anything that appears natural are the Grizzlies.  Thankfully the former Bear Keeper got that Meadow put in or the Polars would have NEVER seen grass in their life.  

This is pure laziness and being cheap.   AND its bullshit because they just spent money on a friggin' tiki hut above the Mandrills and a new exhibit for the Komodo Dragon, but they can't give Bears who have lived there for Thirty years some grass.  Makes me want to throw up.

UPDATE July 3, 2013 - Ulu is in the Mt Ulu home now.  Will post photos and info asap.  Please check back.
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