Monday, July 20, 2015

Joint Zoo Committee Meeting - 3.26.15 - Chimp Upgrade Update - Keeper & Union Rep Speak

The graphic was used in a Power Point type presentation, and I knew it would not be clear in the video.   After the Meeting I asked Director Peterson for a copy, which was left for me the following week.  Thank you to Director Peterson and Tim Wu, from Development for providing the photo credited below.

photo courtesy of  SFZoo


When I was watching the presentation, I thought I got it, but then getting to look at the photo closer, I think its a bit confusing and I know the layout.  But, I will try to make as much sense of it for you that I can.

I thought I would have the video to refer to, but its not helpful.  The synopsis of what was said in relation to this graphic was an over all of the plan, using the Sky Trails mentioned at the Meeting in February, with the addition of the route they would take into the Pachyderm Building.  As I understand it, the area inside would be the portion of the building that runs along the path at the back side of the Chimps, that previously housed the Black Swans.

It sounded like this was a stage one, using the Million Dollar donation.  It also sounded like it would be an immediate start.  Nothing has happened to date.

After the Meeting, I took a closer look at this Graphic that was on an easel.




When I approached Director Peterson to request the Presentation Graphic, I also asked her about this one. She explained the plans as they pertained to the Sky Trails that would be the initial part of the Upgrade and would lead into an unused area of the Pachyderm Building, which as i see it now with photos side by side, is essentially thee same thing from the presentation.  I highlighted on the right hand side of the second photo the area of the Building.   This is a different angle than the presentation photo, so I have highlighted the Pachyderm Building area in both, for easier reference.

Director Peterson noted that one portion of this plan would be completed for the Chimps, using the Million that was donated.  This graphic really seems to be a long term plan for that whole Primate/Ape area.  Lemur (Sifaka) and Orangutans noted, both which would be a new acquisitions. 

I asked whether these upgrades were enough to satisfy the AZA/SSP for the Chimps being able to stay, even if the money never comes through for the New Exhibit.  She answered Yes.  ... Upon further questioning, I was told, with another Million, more of the Sky Trails in this plan would be built.  With 10 Million, the new Exhibit would be built.  Personally I think that doing the Million Dollar phase one, including the barrier suggestions I made, would be enough, and any other donations, especially another Million plus, should be saved towards the New Exhibit.   A New Exhibit would secure the long term commitment that was made to the Chimps at the Meeting February 26, 2015. 

I also questioned if the New Exhibit wasn't built before the numbers went down.   Director Peterson said,  "The Girls could still be moved."  < That is not acceptable to me.  AND it is not part of the original "Stay" commitment she made.   For one, she is assuming that the girls would both outlive our male.  I feel uncomfortable talking about this, but I want what her plan is to be very clearly documented.

She did also bring up possibly looking at Rescue options, to add to the group.  She mentioned research Chimps, and I reiterated what I had written in a blog post, suggesting/noting the Chimps still living at UCSF.

Still, this all said, I did not leave the conversation feeling confident that down the road, all three of Our Chimps will be living out their lives at the San Francisco Zoo.   I certainly hope they do and that Director Peterson follows through with the commitment she made to them.

The above was posted as a stand alone post on my Chimp blog.  

Additionally, the non-management staff's Union Representative addressed the panel in regard to the recent News Story regarding the Zoo's alleged Bugging of Staff Radios.  There was denial and frowny faces from Director Peterson and the panel, as they were put on notice that there would be a law suit to follow.  .. Keeper Tom also spoke in regard to the volume and sourcing of Bird Species.  Keeper Cheyenne and Corey both spoke about respective issues in Primates.  

Once again I was disgusted to hear a "grumble" from the Panel.  Dr Spinelli, a Vet that has held a panel seat for many years, made it a point to "put down"  and almost reprimand, when while speaking Keepers addressed the panel as "the Board".   Dr Spinelli made sure they knew they were not the Board, and basically that the Panel has no voice on these matters. I lost respect for Dr Spinelli after doing some research a few years ago the yeilded an issue with Bears that was never followed up on. So to hear him take this hoity position with the Keepers was disgusting.  In my opinion after this second Meeting in a row where Keepers are not taken seriously as valued Staff, I have to ask, What good are these Meetings and What good is the Panel?  If the Panel cannot be of help, then the Rec and Park need to have more Board Members sitting there, taking note, and participating in what goes on at the Zoo.  Not panelists who have no say, other than to be sarcastic.




FYI no idea why the text isn't font and color uniform, but can't waste anymore time on trying to fix it right now.  Sorry.

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