Tuesday, February 24, 2015

SFZoo Chimps Moving? - The Story So Far!

The San Francisco Zoo Chimps In Jeopardy of Losing Their Home.

If you have been following this blog since the start, you have read all the information on the situation that I have gathered from fact, third party, and research.  There has been more since my last attempt at a synopsis, so this will be a full update, of the story so far!

Three weeks ago I started this blog, after hearing the disturbing news that Director Peterson was planning to move our Group of Senior Chimps.  

The information I got was, they were being sent to a facility in Florida.  Allegedly Lion Country Safari.  Allegedly Director Peterson had been there to see the place.  Allegedly the move is happening end of March.

Our Chimps are aged 45, 45 and 57.  In my opinion they are too old to be moved to another facility.  They have lived at the Zoo for near half a century.  I think it would be traumatizing.  Additionally at 57, Cobby, should not be integrated into an established group with other males. That alone could prove to be life-threatening.  These Chimps should be allowed to live out their lives at the SFZoo.

Why can't they?  THAT is the question!  Two scenarios.  One, the AZA guideline recommends social groups of four minimum. After losing Tallulah in 2013, we only have three.  The AZA may or may not be willing to send additional Chimps, based on the current condition of the enclosure.  The other senario is, Director Peterson, just doesn't want them there and is using this AZA guideline as an excuse.

From my research, the AZA would prefer Zoo's to keep their Chimps and they are willing to give generous timelines for fundraising, upgrades and/or new exhibit builds.  So, the Zoo could be given the time, as well, I believe the Zoo has or has access to the funds.  They recently broke ground on another play area for kids that is rumored to have cost over a million, but down from three!  As well, rumors are there is plans to bring in another species of Lemur, and build a new exhibit for it.  As well as the rumor that a version of the previously planned Great Ape Forest is still on, only not with Chimps.

If the enclosure is the issue, then there lies the issue of Zoo Management disregarding the Chimps for years.  The enclosure was built in 1968.  The last upgrade was made in mid 1980s.  In 1997, City Residents voted a Bond in for the Zoo to build a new Chimp exhibit, the Great Ape Forest.  That never happened. Nothing for them ever happened.  Why?

The Zoo under Director Peterson's rule, has seen the Chimps home with peeling paint and rusted structures, while Director Peterson spends money bring in new Animals and building new exhibits for them.  The only obvious answer for this is that she favors the New and Shiny over the Old and Gray. Is doing right by the Chimps and other current residents in need?  Hell NO!

In an effort to fact find on this, as much as possibly considering, Director Peterson has made a statement in personal correspondence to several members of the public, as well as Zoo/Park/City staff.  

In her own words, Director Peterson states "... there has been no decision to move them anywhere (zoo or sanctuary)."   ...  This is very interesting.  Good to hear if true, but interesting as it differs from what Staff have heard.  OR is it a play on words, as Lion Country Safari is neither a Zoo or a Sanctuary?

Additionally, the other day, they were building transfer cages in the Chimps indoor quarters, one Staffer said, "in preparation for when they move".   .. Where does that fall into the "no decision to move" statement?

Something else that was curious in her correspondence was this quote to a member of the public, "...I too am not eager to see them leave." 

? Director Peterson, if you are not eager to see them leave, WHAT are you doing so they can stay? Are you preparing to upgrade their current home so additions can be made to the group?  Are you going to stop building new play things for humans and new exhibits for new animals and plan for building the Chimps the new home they were promised 18 years ago in 1997?   Are you doing what it takes to keep them in the only home they have ever known?   

Remember to follow this story on its own blog

You can also find the Chimps on Facebook!

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