Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gorilla Death Updates - Story Changes and re-hiring of Expert

Wow, yesterday sure was an interesting news day. 

Our poor little Kabibe's death. Too many conflicting stories, so much BS, as the tangled web of the San Francisco Zoo is woven on yet another gag order tragedy. My brain is mad and sad.

I'm sorry to sound so suspicious, but I know for a fact, when something bad happens there, unless you are standing right there at the time and see it with your own eyes, you never know the true story, even if you are one of the Primary Keepers.   Those standing there are gag ordered and only allowed to say what they are told.

As of last evening, the story sure seems to be changing.  And now the Zoo is hiring an Expert.

I can't find the first article I read, but it definitely said (whether part of an official statement or not) that there was, No way to stop the door once it was activated to close.  Can't find that now.

News articles yesterday morning now state there was a Stop Mechanism but it wasn't reached in time. I noted some thoughts in my blog post from yesterday.  Apologies if I repeat myself.  ...  Questions then are, Why wasn't it activated?  Was the Keeper (s) not watching that the Animals were cleare?  

I am finding it curious that No News Media asked about this initially, only reporting the News as usual, which is printing the Press Release.  Finally, some investigative reporting?  I have begged for this on many occasions.  Maybe the Media should start reading my blog.

Late Sunday or early yesterday, I read one article that stated that there was only One Keeper there at the time.  ... There is supposed to be Two Keepers on Code Red Animals, per a Buddy System that was revealed in an earlier News investigation.

One News piece last evening, noted that they got Anonymous email from a group of Keepers.  I know for a fact they do indeed fear their jobs.  I have noted this myself many times.  At some point, like with the earlier Safety issue, more need to band together and get everything out in the open.  These troubles may have gone on in other Administrations but I definitely know that there is major issue with the reign of Director Peterson, and that should be brought to an even brighter light than before.  

I haven't read much about this next thing, but I can pretty much gather the deal.  So late news out of the Zoo was that they are re-hiring Terry Maples, an Animal expert.  Nothing personal to him but the first time around I thought it ridiculous to hire outside experts, to tell them things they should be able to figure out on their own, otherwise hire better Staff.

Maples came in and noted that he thought there should be glass at Gorillas.  No shit, I blogged about that two yrs before his arrival.  There should be glass at alot of exhibits, but I digress.  I didn't think he made a difference, because Gorillas is a decent enclosure and there was never any word on other Animals he helped.  Surely not the Chimps or Bears.

So, him or anyone else coming in to "find out what happened" seems ridiculous.  Of course an Investigation has to take place, obviously I don't know who the best person to that is, but I don't think its someone who is being paid by the Zoo.  To me that poses a certain allegiance, which is part of the problem there.  No outside anything, so everything always stays under wraps.  ... Ask the Keeper who was there what happened?  Check the Doors.  Allegedly seems pretty plain and simple from what they've released so far.  They had one Keeper, that Keeper couldn't have been watching the Animals were clear.  If there is a Stop, it wasn't activated, because no one was watching.  No Keeper Buddy System, No Motion Stop on the gate.  To me and maybe I'm missing something, having someone come in to figure out what happened  seems like a reach to figure out how to spin the story so it goes down in history as an accident with no fault to the Zoo or Staff.

Lastly I have BIG issue with the Gorillas being forced out on exhibit to grieve in public.  Yes they can go inside, but they shouldn't have to be cooped up all day, their exhibit should be closed and they free to go in and out without onlookers.  This is cruel.   There were people on the News saying, "We are looking for mourning behaviors.  Seriously?  That is awful, if the only reason you came to the Zoo is to see these poor Animals grieving.  The Reporter then said, "Visitors gathers to watch them mourn".   My heart breaks for them and if I was in charge of the Zoo this moment more than any other, many Staffers would lose their jobs.  First up would be the PR gal Abbie.  The Zoo has not said much, in fact being slammed on their Facebook page for not recognizing the tragedy.  

There was a photo taken of the Gorillas in mourning.  I saw this photo on a private Facebook Page of one of their Volunteer Photographers, who went there to check on them because she cares about them, not to take advantage of their grief, like other visitors who clearly have gone to gawk.  It was an Amazing capture of mourning and made me sob.  I cried because I could feel their loss and because they had to be on exhibit.  Last night I saw this photo on a News source.  I was outraged that of all the things the Zoo put out, it was a photo of the mourning.  This should have been kept private.  The PR Department continues to be disrespectful to the Animals both living and in death.  To me, this was a very exploitative move.  But, the Zoo pimps out the Animals to the Media in any way they can.  My disgust for the way the Zoo handles things grows daily.


  1. I agree with all you have written. Last nite i saw 3 news reports with 3 different stories. One person interviewed told two conflicting stories. The zoo is a public place and an outside investigation needs to happen. The gorilla area needs to close for a time to let them grieve. But.....the zoo puts animal priority 10th on the list and even terrible things that happen they capitalize on. Bless the gorilla family, you are loved.

  2. I agree with what you have written. And one thing I hadn't thought of, is that though Terry Maple has excellent credentials (he literally 'wrote the book' on gorillas), he is being paid by the zoo and worked for them before. If they really need an investigation, it should be an outsider, though I don't know who would pay for that. And I too am not sure a big "investigation" is necessary. When the facts are known about the door and the keeper, then just deal with those facts. Use that money for a better door, not an investigator.- Joanne Tanner

  3. What you write makes a lot of sense. From the alleged hand-written keeper account, it seems very clear that the keeper was not watching the door. And if they were supposed to have 2 keepers for code red animals, where was the other? My local zoo doesn't seem to have that same protocol because many times I've seen just ine keeper at the lion and tiger exhibit.

    I also agree that the gorilla exhibit should have been closed for a few days to allow the troop to grieve properly, not have to deal with people watching them. It's sad and I'm sorry this precious baby lost her life. If the SF Zoo is indeed trying to cover something up, they need to stop doing it, admit they screwed up, and work to make sure it never happens again.


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