Sunday, September 22, 2013

World Rhino Day at the San Francisco Zoo

So, where do I begin.  I know, that doesn't sound like this is going to be very good.   So, two things first.   I love my Precious Rhino Friends!  I'm lucky to get to experience what Special Beings they are. I usually don't Zoo on the weekend, but went today to support their Species special Day and to witness whether or not Elly got treats, because I knew she would be dissed as usual.  Answer is NO Elly did not get treats.   

Elly has been banished to the back of the exhibit for a year now (more information on that in my next post).  I rarely see her up anymore, but she was up today!  She's not stupid, she knew something was happening.  Sadly, it just wasn't happening for her.  It was heartbreaking to watch Elly trot around in a circle, as she watched Belozi get his treats.

I asked one Keeper if Elly was getting treats and she said maybe later, indicating during the Keeper talk in the afternoon. In my opinion, that isn't good enough. I don't know who decides what and when, but her not getting something at the same time is inexcusable.  I'm not blaming this Keeper because as I stated I don't know who's call this was.  BUT There is NO reason why Elly couldn't have been given a box of treats at the same time Belozi was.  They could have thrown it over to her before they went around to the front to throw Belozi his.  There is NO excuse for her having to watch him.  When Mishaki was in the front of the exhibit, she had to watch him too.  Its horrible.  

In an effort to "give info"  the other Keeper told people Elly (at 42 yrs old) was the oldest Rhino in a North American Zoo, something they like to boast, yet they couldn't give her a friggin' box?  Sorry, but I'm getting really tired of this crap.  AND that's exactly what this and other stuff I point out that the Zoo does that disrespects these Animals.  Elly is a Grand Dame, and she deserves better treatment.  

Let's talk about the Enrichment.  Since my friend and I used to make Enrichment Toys, as well I've seen attempts the Zoo has made, in addition to reading everything I can about Enrichment in other Zoos, I do know what kind of creative things can be done for Events.  There are different types of Enrichment, but for Events, there should be something fun and Themed.  Don't get me wrong, the Animals don't care, they are happy to be getting treats!  BUT that doesn't mean that putting those treats in something different (shape, color, size) isn't funner for them and fun for Visitors to see.  

The treats today were put in plain boxes the produce comes in.  In my opinion thats just plain lazy. You tell me the Zoo couldn't have some Docents at least paint the boxes and write World Rhino Day on them? They had three double-sided signs that were fancier than the Enrichment Boxes.  Pathetic.   ... And the signs, interestingly noted that Elly had fourteen babies, when their Animal List says she had sixteen.  Note that fourteen is MY count, that I always post when referencing.  Just saying.  Wonder where they are getting their information (and other ideas) from?

I try not to blame the Keepers (at least in this instance), as I think Event Enrichment should be planned by the Curator and the Animal Care VP and/or Event Staff.  The Keepers seem to work with what they are given.  I guess there's no official Enrichment Staff anymore and the Enrichment Program they slammed the door on us for, is and always was non-existent.  No one makes anything fun for these Animals anymore.  Keeping them entertained is just not a priority.  They sit around bored all the time, and are given the same old things.  The only kind of  "Toy" type Enrichment I've seen given lately is when there's some kind of 49er thing going on and Belozi gets a box with the logo painted on it, for a photo op.  And again only Belozi (who they renamed Boone after the ball player) gets something.

For an Event that is supposed to Celebrate Rhinos and raise awareness for their plight, there sure wasn't much going on.   It seemed like this was something they just did to keep up with the Jones. They didn't even have anyone taking photos.  They sure go all out when there's a Sports thing going on, but hey, we're only trying to save an Animal Species from going Extinct, its not the Super Bowl or anything.  On their Facebook page they even mention the Zip Line before Rhino Day!  Disgusting.

At least two out of three Rhinos got some extra treats out of the deal.

Belozi enjoying his treats!

 Gauhati enjoying his treats!

Down to the last drop!


  1. Lee "a tigers best friend"September 23, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    It breaks my heart the disrespect these precious animals get. I blame the lazy curators because I know that the keepers for the most part have their hands tied. The zoo always touts "education/preservation" but I never see that. All I see are very poorly planned days that are probably afterthoughts as they have seen other zoos do something spectacular. Boxes are free, paint is minimal cost, why cant they do something at least minmal. A lot is poor vision on their part and a big part is laziness. They brag about Elly and then tease her by not giving her treats. It's disrepectful to say the least and breaks my heart. When we used to do enrichments, we went all out every week. Again the zoo is more into ballplayers and coctail parties. God bless you precious rhinos, you are three of the most precious animals at the zoo and I love and respect you very much. Shame on the curators for disrespect of these precious creatures. Miss Elly has been an exceptional example of an amazing Rhino, and she got nothing.

    1. @ Lee- Thank you for your comment. I apologize for the delay in reply. ... Yes I too in blame those above Keeper Staff, especially for Event Enrichments. That said, in general instances, I also know that there are some Keepers who are also just plain lazy or don't care if the Animals are bored or have anything different, interesting, challenging or fun. ... You are right in your take on Zoo priorities, and where they put their energy and its not with the Animals in mind, its with how much money or media will this get us. .. My heart breaks for Elly everytime I see her stuck in back, just standing there bored. My long overdue post about this is coming soon I hope!

  2. This is sad and very disappointing. It is bad enough that Elly was given nothing but not shielding her view of the others getting treats is just cruel and there is no excuse when those animals are what brings in the money. They should be treated as precious , not as "things" deserving nothing more than the bare basics of care. Are they even fed enough? Poor Tatiana was underweight when she was murdered. - Kat

    1. @ Kat- Thank you for your comment. I apologize for the delay in reply. ... It is all the things you mentioned! AND in regard to sheltering view, they did the most cruel things to poor Elly after Mishaski passed. She would stand and stare to his are looking for him constantly. I even blogged about it. She not only stood there waiting for him to return probably, but then they rub it in and hang her food right there facing that area! YET when they needed a fence to separate them when Belozi came, they sure got one up there. They do what benefits them, not the Animals. They are the cruelest, especially those making descisions in regards to Hoofstock. ... I think the reports about Tatiana being underweight were in accurate. I saw her that day and have a photo that shows her pretty sizeable. I have a photo here
      Although I do think the weights of the Amur/Siberian are skewed, I'm not a professional and don't claim to be one. But, when Shastyuh first got here the Vet Staff said she was overweight and she was clearly on the thinner side.


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