Well, I meant to do a World Lion Day post, and obviously I still haven't. With two Animal Awareness Days this past weekend and the Zoo actually doing something for them, I'll post abit about Awareness Days in general, as well a review of the Zoo's Lion Day Event.
Animal Awareness Days at the SFZoo have either been non-existent or have fallen short of what they should be. When I first started to take note and post about this, it was World Tapir Day 2012 and there was nothing on the Zoo grounds that even hinted at that. They continued to miss such Days for Tigers, Polar Bears, and Rhinos. In 2013, for Rhino Day, the Zoo put up a "sandwich" board, with a few notations. That was the extent of it.
Here are a couple of the posts I've made on this blog in reference to this.
So far this year they have recognized three Animal Awareness Days with Events. Not sure why the change, but at least they are getting with the program a bit.
World Lion Day is August 10th.
Screen-Cap from my blog post
With the recent increase in Lion related Offenses, I looked forward to seeing what the Zoo would put forth in the way of Education. Their website noted there would be a Keeper Talk and Enrichment.
There was no Educational signage, and no other Fanfare. The Keeper came out and talked about our Lions. There was not one word mentioned about the current plight Lions are facing. Issues that are pushing them towards extinction. WTF? Why even bother to recognize an Awareness Day and not promote Awareness? Again as I've noted many times, the Zoo falls short of its Mission to Educate. I was hoping to hear something in regard to at least one of the issues and nothing. I wasn't surprised, yet at the same time, I seriously couldn't believe there was nothing said about the massive increase in Trophy and Canned Hunting. BIG FAIL SFZOO!
Screen-Cap from World Lion Day site
noting issues that threaten Lions
In my opinion it is a responsibility of all Animal Facilities, whether a Zoo or Sanctuary, to Educate Visitors, especially on these Awareness Days, especially if you are going to go as far as advertising it as an Event! Taking advantage of spreading the word about issues threatening the lives of these Animals, should be a priority. With the amount of Visitors that come through the gates, not to get the word out, is a crime. Why our Zoo, which holds the namesake of a City famous for Environmental Awareness, continues to fall flat, I can't understand. San Francisco Zoo Management, why are you so lame?
I will give Kudos to the Enrichment offerings. I can't find my photos, but a large Hoofed Animal was made out of boxes by Zoo Campers (I think). It looked great and so I had much expectation for interaction between the Lions and the Enrichment Toy. The Keepers put out bones wrapped in paper, but didn't put food incentive in the Toy structure. This was curious to me, as the food is the lure, the toy/item is the challenge. They work hand in hand to make it an enriching experience. They only put Rhino poop (a scent enrichment) on the toy. The Lions came out, went right for the paper wrapped bones and ignored the toy structure completely. After being involved with how a prior Keeper worked with Enrichment Toys, this was unusual. They barely looked at the toy. I stood there for an hour and the only interaction was Jahari spraying it. So either they couldn't smell food, so ignored it or the lack of Toy Enrichment they have received over the past few years has been so little that they just aren't interested in toys or no longer know how to interact with them. Sadly I think it is the later. When they had this type of Enrichment weekly, they were very interested and interacted with it, in a what is called,"high yield" experience. Their lack of interest made me sad and I felt like not having toys for so long, they had been ruined for the experience it provides them.
The Zoo seriously is lacking in their Enrichment efforts. I hope to do yet another post in regards to this. If any reader is on Facebook and is has an interest in Animal Enrichment, check out my group
Awesome Animal Enrichment
Here are some links in regard to the Plight of Lions today.