I strongly believe that everything happens the way its supposed to and in reference to the Zoo that I'm positioned to witness certain things, because honestly, it sometimes seems that myself and my friend Lee are the only ones that do.
A series of events have tied themselves together to form this post. Words from a Friend. A Horrifying Event. Lame new Signs.
Because I'm a fan of story-telling in chronological order when possible, I'll note the gist ahead of time, because my title lends to wanting the information out there. SO, in short, during yesterdays visit, we witnessed three young Girls at the inside Barrier around the Chimp enclosure. This misbehavior could have ended with one or all of our Chimps being killed. Every aspect of this is unacceptable.
The other day a Friend told me that my negativity about the Zoo and the People that work there is hard to handle. Additionally noting that she believes "They do the best they can." ... Hard to handle I can understand, but judgmental about it when our experiences with the Zoo and Staff have been very different, is not. This post isn't about my experiences, so I won't lay them out in detail, but they have been very well documented in another one of my blogs if you don't already know.
Today while spending time with the Chimps, I was taking photos and my Friend Lee said in broken words something about the Barrier. I looked at her and she pointed in the direction of the middle Chimp Grotto. There stood three pre-teen Girls leaning up against and slightly over the inner Barrier. Lee said she was so shocked that she couldn't say anything sooner, which would have been when she saw one of them with their legs actually over the Barrier, which would put her directly in the Exhibit!
Of course I took a photo and then said, "Excuse me, but you're not supposed to be over the Barrier." To which they said, both "We aren't" and something about paying for it, which I assume meant because they were part of the group that had rented the Party Room. This Room is adjacent to the Lemur Cafe. The Room has a small Patio the looks out to the middle Chimp Grotto, which is apparently from where they gained access.
I went looking for someone to tell, and a Staffer was exiting the Cafe. He said, "they aren't supposed to...", thanked me and quickly went over there.
Knowing I was definitely going to be posting about this, I wanted to see what the Barrier situation was from the Party Room, which I had never been in. So, once the Party was over I went in and checked it out. Two members of the Catering Staff who worked the Party were still in there. I went to the Patio and saw that there was a fence several feet before the inner Barrier,therefore creating that outer/secondary Barrier, but it ended to the left, with a wide open area beyond some trees, leaving that part of the Barrier approachable. One of the Staffers was giving me the "sales info" spiel, so I noted that space where it ends and added that I had seen kids beyond that over at the Barrier. She said, "They didn't go over there." I said, "Yes, they did, I took a photo." Then the other Staffer said, "I let them go under the bushes to collect Feathers." At that point I saw the Mama Peahen and her Babie napping in the sun, in a place that should have been their safe haven, yet it wasn't, because People were "allowed" to traipse through there. ... I had the info I needed so I left.
So, now that I've painted the picture calmly, I will say that seeing those kids at the inner Barrier was horrifying! In short, if the one Girl who had her legs in the Exhibit, (for example) slipped and fell in, Our Chimps would have been Shot and Killed in an effort to save her. .. I'm getting pretty tired of hearing stories about Animals getting killed because of Human misbehavior and/or stupidity. And in reference to our Zoo, no one seems to want to take any serious steps to ensure this doesn't happen.
I have posted about this before, different times I've seen Barriers being breached and my thoughts about the People who perpetrate this Crime. And, my feelings about how Animals should not lose their lives because of Stupid and/or Evil People. But, because Society values the lives of Humans more than Animals, even if the Humans are Stupid, Evil, or whatever the characteristic that leads them to misbehave. Sorry if this is harsh, but its how I feel, and I know alot of other People who feel this way, I'm just vocal about it.
Yes, in this case these were Kids, but does that make them less responsible? They weren't five, they should know better. Who's watching these Kids? Why wasn't the Catering Staff who gave them permission to go beyond Barriers supervising them? Do these Catering Staffers even have the authority to give that kind of permission? AND Why does that fencing just stop? There shouldn't be an incomplete Barrier that area. There should also be a sign there that says, STOP No Access Beyond This Point. In fact THAT is what all the signs should say. A Plain and simple LARGE sign should be at every exhibit, not just ones the Zoo picks and chooses at curious random. That one with the Park Code, ect. THAT should be posted on a Large sign in Entry Village and at the Gate House.
There is just too much Barrier breaching going on at the Zoo. Every single time I'm there its something. So, it must be happening all the time. Accidents just waiting to happen and the Zoo can seemingly care less. I can say that as apparently certain, because I have been posting about this for along time. I've provided photos. I've made suggestions. I've basically begged them for more signage and other deterrents. There is never Security on the grounds. I didn't see Security until I was in the parking lot. That's no fault of theirs, they patrol where they are told to. Most days the Zoo only hires two at one given time.
So, to all Readers, including my Friend, I must ask, Is this the best they can do? Hell No! Its not even close to the best. THIS incident today should have NEVER happened. Those Kids should have never been given permission by a Staffer to go beyond an obvious Barrier area and certainly not unsupervised. Whether or not the Zoo actually allows this, it is unacceptable to put those Chimps (or any other Animals) in a vulnerable situation if an accident occurred and they reacted naturally.
The Zoo continues to FAIL in trying to provide a safe environment for the Animals that live there. I know you can't fix Stupid, but you can try to deter it and they don't even seem to want to do that. My only guess is they don't want to offend anyone and lose business. I guess that's more important than an Animal losing its life because of Human misbehavior or a Human losing theirs because of their own actions. I certainly hope that neither ever happens (again). SFZoo, let this once again be notice to you. I have a pretty decent size documentation on your lack of safety and will only continue to document what I see, so you might want to get a better grip on the Barrier situation.
I recently posted about seeing people hanging over the Barrier at the Hippo. Its happened before where after I post something I'll see some fix-it suggestion materialize on the grounds. So, now there's a new sign about Barrier breaching.
Size compare reference
This sign was at the Indian One-Horned Rhino. I find this curious. For one, there was already a sign there, while for years there were none at any other Exhibits. A few months ago, a couple tiny ones turned up at Black Rhinos after I posted about a breaching there. Two, this is not even one of the repeated breach spots. Three, the sign is the size of a TV Guide, much like the two they put up at Black Rhinos. Four, the Sign only notes about "Entering" an enclosure, nothing about standing, sitting, or dangling over the Barriers. Did the Zoo miss my post on what happened earlier this year at the Pittsburgh Zoo?
In any case, there is still no such sign at the Hippo. Or the Mandrills, or the Anteater, both which are other consistent hot spots for dangling over Barriers. ... This same (tiny new) sign also appears near the middle of the new Polar Bear exhibit. Curious that one small sign is all that is at Bears, when it there is a stretch of five Bear Grottos.
Visitors either ignoring the
tiny new sign at Polar Bears,
tiny new sign at Polar Bears,
or more likely, they didn't even see it.
Either way, MISBEHAVING!
AND, What's the deal with the signs being so small for something so important, yet the signs to keep unauthorized People out of restricted areas is about six times the size? I would think the message about not entering a Wild Animal Enclosure would be more important than an employee only area, but hey that's just silly ol' me. Silly me, I also think more Security and Staff actually watching people would be helpful. Silly me, I also think there are other ways to let Visitors know and learn about proper behavior. Maybe its also too negative of me to notice when someone dangles their baby over the Rhino and says "Here Rhino." I guess I also shouldn't take notice when a grown adult tries to sit on one of the babie Goats or feed Goats Lollipops? How about when People let their Kids chase the Peacocks and try to pull out their Feathers for a photo op? Should I not notice that too?
Bottom line. I'm not a fan of Humans and I don't pretend to be. I prefer Animals, that I why I'm hypersensitive to everything and everyone at the Zoo. And you know what, someone has to be, because it sure ain't the people that work there.
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Contact the San Francisco Zoo Director Tanya Peterson
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