Sunday, May 29, 2016

Will The San Francisco Zoo Secure Rhino Barrier or Wait For Tragedy?

I'm tired of complaining and blogging about this issue.  Its time for the San Francisco Zoo to Protect this Animal.

As noted in my last two previous posts, I have written about this issue for many years.  Its been exhausting, frustrating and painful to continually document this issue every visit, but I do.    I have been absent on posting for too many months, but the issue is never away from me.  That said, how much more do I have to write, for the threat to our Male Black Rhino Belozi to be taken seriously?

What happened in Cincinnati can easily happen here.  I see this parental negligence on every visit. Please search this blog for "barriers" to read past posts, learn the extent and see photos.

In case you haven't seen my video that shows the abuse to the barriers at Black Rhinos, please view.

From what I have been told, San Francisco Zoo Security allegedly has Shoot to Kill orders on any Animal, in any situation they think is Endangering a Human.  SFZoo allegedly no longer has a Tranq Team.  Allegedly that Team was discarded in favor of letting Security handle all incidents.  I don't know how many Zoos have armed Security Guards, but allegedly the previous Security company was let go, after our Director Tanya Peterson hired these armed Guards to ensure no Keepers "crashed" the Annual ZooFest.

So, any one of the multiple Visitors that hang their kids over the barriers, especially at Black Rhinos, is putting the life of Belozi in Danger.

The only viable solution is to make the exhibit breach free. There needs to be glass that runs the entire length of the exhibit.  At no point in the barrier should anyone for any reason be able to enter the exhibit from the Visitor side.

Black Rhinos is just a start.  Every Animal enclosure should be secure in this way, but that sadly, I realize is a Fantasy. That said, every Code Red Animal exhibit needs to be glassed in.  Polar Bear. Grizzly Bear.  The two viewing platforms at Gorillas.  Chimpanzees.  Asian Rhino, at the very least it needs a secondary barrier.  People are allowed to hang their kids over that barrier, even when Keepers are present.

Thankfully the second most breached exhibit, the home of the Giant Anteater, Angelo, has finally got a barrier, while not breach proof, does not allow for Visitors to sprawl out and flail about on.  That took three years of blogging about, and only when their AZA Accreditation inspection was upon them, did they do something there.  That inspection got a few other minor fixes, but why should the Animals safety and comfort, wait for threat of inspection?  

The only one that was ever taken seriously was Mandrills. After blogging about it for some time, glass was put up there.  Thankful for that, although there is a break in flow of the glass barrier, that can be breached with effort.  But at least the idiots who hang over the rail can't just fall in now.

The little efforts over the years the Zoo has made to put forth the message that, abuse of the barriers is not tolerated, has done near nothing.  I don't see a reduced amount of violators, in fact I see an increase.  I will write another post with suggestions in detail, because even Non-Code Red Animals need protection from Visitors.  

In addition to Visitors hanging into enclosures, they try to feed the Animals, throw things in the enclosures AND at them!  Animal safety needs to become a priority.  By allowing these misbehavior's, the Zoo sends a message that this is acceptable.  

I have a blog post in the works about this, but will add it here as a final note.  The recent renovation of two Bear Grottos for the upcoming Wolf Exhibit, has the barrier lined in glass.  SO, when the Zoo wants to do something, they do it.  

If no glass shows up along Black Rhinos, it will be because the Zoo doesn't want to do it.  Doesn't want to protect Belozi.

Justice for Harambe? Will There Be Changes to Cincinnati Zoo Gorilla Exhibit?

Will Zoos across America, take a hard look at the breach points in enclosures that house Code Red Animals? Sadly I'm going to go with, probably not, but I hope I'm wrong.

I had less than four hours sleep last night.  Stayed up til early this morning, reading through comments on the Cincinnati Facebook Page, responses to News articles, Twitter, Zoo Chat, Reddit.  I went to bed feeling like I was going to vomit, and woke up with tears.  As I wrote in my previous post, this is a subject that hits home.  I am frustrated that there will most likely be no change, both at home, the SFZoo and at other Zoos, like Cincinnati, the place Harambe called home. Everyone should be safe in their home.

The consensus on Social Network forums seems to put the order of responsibility as Parents, Zoo, ... the Animal was not the cause of incident.  That said, what do we do when the rule apparently is, that Humans are a Priority, over all Non-Human Beings, in any circumstance?  Is this right?  This concept escapes me, but that's a different debate.  I firmly believe that no life is worth more than another  just because of Species.  Life fate is based on its value as a responsible and decent being. You dangle your kid over a Rhino enclosure and yell, "here Rhino"  in my eyes you and your kid are of less value than the Rhino.

As a Society of those who believe Humans should take responsibility in their actions, where does that leave us in this battle in a World filled with Humans with no sense or sense of entitlement putting themselves above rule and doing whatever they want to?  Why should anyone, Human or Non-Human, have to pay for others misplaced actions?  

The reality is, Humans should have more sense. I'm personally tired of seeing people get passes for behavior that is offensive in whatever way.  In the case of anyone breaching a barrier to an Animal Exhibit in a Zoo, that is offensive to the respect of the Animal, and to the Trespassing Law.  At least in California.   So, what to do?  

The battle between Human error and Non-Human's paying the price with their life, is upsetting and frustrating. 

Here are some of the questions being batted about on Social Media:

Where was the Mother?
Why wasn't the Kid being watched?
How did the Kid get to an opening in the Exhibit?
Should the Zoo have better barriers?

I expressed my experience in my previous post, and I'm sure anyone who's gone to a Zoo can agree, Visitors abuse the Rules.  I'm not the only one to see people on and over barriers.  I'm not the only one to see people not paying attention to children in their care. ....  I've also expressed barrier issue at San Francisco Zoo.  I'm sure there are same style exhibits all over.  So, what can be done?  How can we make the Zoos Safe for the Animals who live there?  

While I think when you walk through the gates of a Zoo, you assume the responsibility to Behave Responsibly.  Barring an Animal Escape, you are responsible for your safety. Same as if you were at an Amusement Park and the roller coaster went off the rails, that's the problem of the Park.  If you jump out of the roller coaster, that's your problem.  The Zoos responsibility should be to the Animals in its care.  To me, it is backward to think in any other way in the case of exhibit entry. The Zoo is basically the "Parent" of the captive Animal.  That is who they should be responsible for. while many I'm finding might agree, there are many who don't.  So, what do we do? 

There have been several instances near exactly like this in past years.  We tend to only hear about those involving Code Red Animals, but there are too many other instances of barrier abuse (laying, standing on, hanging over) that go undocumented.  The negligence by Zoos to bring this behavior issue to light, and put forth repercussions,  lends to tragedies like yesterdays.  If more Zoos took a stand against these pre-cursor situations, and sent messages that this behavior is not acceptable, there might be less misbehavior and no tragedies.

Some of the incidents have been:

2009- San Francisco Zoo- Man entered Grizzly Bear enclosure.  Bears didn't engage and were safely brought inside.

2012 Pittsburgh Zoo- Mother held kid on railing for better view, lost grip and dropped him into Wild Dog exhibit.  Dog shot dead.

2013- San Francisco Zoo- Man runs through exhibit to by pass paying Admission.

2014- Arkansas Zoo- Child Fell into Jaguar Exhibit while Father leaned over railing to take a photo.

2015 Cleveland Metroparks Zoo- Toddler "fell into Cheetah exhibit after his parents reportedly held him over the railing."  ... In a surprising turn of events CMZ sued the Parents for Child Endangerment.  I haven't heard anything more about the outcome if any to this case.

2015 Omaha Zoo- Woman bitten while trying to Pet Tiger.

2016 Chile Zoo- Man enters Lion Exhibit on suicide mission.  Two Lions shot dead.

It Amazes me that people haven't learned from these incidents.  With the internet in our literal hands these days, there is no reason to not know better.  .. There is also the consideration, when its not an accident, like the Suicide guy.  This guy wants to die, yet two Lions lose their lives instead?  How does any of this make sense?  Yes, ... How does anyone know the factors?  Wonder if we did know? Wonder if known Criminals entered, would they too be saved because they are Human?  So here we are, still at Humans above Animals, regardless.  How do we fix this situation?  Is it to be left solely on the Zoos to make all exhibits entry free? That would be ideal, but I don't see it happening.  Zoos do not seem to want to make any adjustment to their exhibit visions based on dictation of Society misbehavior, unless of course tragedy strikes.  Why do we have to wait for that?  How many Animals have to die?

It seems that each Zoo reacts to their own tragedy.  San Francisco reacted to the Tiger incident by constructing glass and mesh barriers across the entire Big Cat area, five enclosures.  That incident was different than this in the way that Tatiana left the enclosure.  Not different in that she was the victim. Changes were made only because a Human died.  There were no changes to the Bear Grotto barriers after the Man entered the Grizzlies. 

How will Cincinati Zoo react to this barrier breach?  Will there be changes?  

If there is going to be an across the board, Shoot to Kill, Humans first protocol, Cincinnati Zoo and all other Zoos should examine all Exhibits, BUT especially those that house Code Red Animals, Apes, Big Cats, Bears, Rhinos, ect.  and make sure the barriers can not be breached from the public side.  If they aren't going to protect the Animals from the Public with any other actions or rules, they need to protect them by keeping them in a protected environment.

Will Cincinnati Zoo and other Zoos with vulnerable barriers step up and protect the Animals in their Care?


Please Sign and Share this Petition to bring about Harambe's Law.  Don't let his death be for nothing. Help other Animals by supporting the idea that Humans should be held responsible in some way for the actions of their misbehavior.

This is not my Petition but one I support.  Thank you.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

News Flash: Ohio Zoo Kills After Kid Falls In... How Long Before This Happens In San Francisco?

I am Heartbroken, Angry and Disgusted by this News just coming out of Ohio.  This Animal should not have lost his life for acting on instinct.  RIP Harambe.

One article:  

I have not written a blog post in seven months.  Every day since my last one, I have thought about it, every weekend I sit down to, and all the emotional drain of Zoo related issues take over and nothing comes to form.  What I do get is a constant stream of ranting about things that circle in my mind.  Not having all those thoughts down in posts in chronological order as I've tried in the past, really weighs on me.  Unfortunately, I am the only one, who cares enough to document the issues at the San Francisco Zoo.  For that reason, I feel a responsibility to the Animals.  I am attached to them in ways some might not understand, and not putting forth what happens there makes me feel like I'm letting them down.

After losing Shastyuh (last post, still not written), I just couldn't move forward.  That doesn't mean I don't make daily notes, as I keep close tabs on the Zoo regardless of whether I am posting.  I visit the Zoo at the least, once a week, often more.  There are endless issues to post about, and while I sometimes feel like I'm complaining, the reality is, these are things that I shouldn't even have to complain about.  Too many things that are amiss there, or even a Miss, that just shouldn't be.  Often small things, that you would think are obvious rights, that they just get wrong.  Since I haven't kept up with documenting everything, I have recently thought I need to shorten my list of issues and concentrate on the most important ones.  

One of those most important issues is the way the Zoo allows Visitors to quote myself in precious posts "run wild" through the Zoo.  I realize the Zoo is a Park, but its also a controlled environment where Animals live.  That said, there should be some sort of behavior guidance to those who enter.  I have made countless suggestions, most have fallen on deaf ears.  Some have come to fruition, but not as I had envisioned.  ... Please search "barrier" on this blog, for other posts I've done.

The incident today at the Cincinnati Zoo that cost Harambe Gorilla his life, is so tragic, and it can easily happen at our San Francisco Zoo.  

My opinion is not the popular one.  That's fine.  That's the beauty of Free Speech.  I'm Honest and Secure in my opinions.  I don't claim to be a Humanitarian.  That may sound awful, but in this day when there is so much violence against Animals, my soul has been damaged.  I make no apologies for my position.  That said, I am also not alone in my opinion.

Over the years that I have been a more frequent Visitor to the Zoo, I have been disgusted by the behavior I see from other Visitors towards the Animals. I often wonder why People even come to Zoos.  It is just something to do?  Do they think they are Animal lovers, but come to the Zoo to only torment, tease and belittle?  Some of it just rude, but all of it disrespectful.  I indeed make the call to Security whose number I have on my phone, every time I see misbehavior.  Reaching back in time, if the Visitor who saw the Lions being harassed on Christmas Day 2007 had made a call or found someone on Staff, Tatiana Tiger would not have lost her life because of Delinquents.

I haven't liked what each Holiday season, the Tatiana event was brought up in the News, but over the past year there have been several incidents at Zoos, so maybe it needs to, to remind People how to behave.  That said, there are still some that don't get the message and Animals lose their lives.  That Tatiana incident was a bit different, in that she left the enclosure, but the bottom line was still the same, her fate was sealed by Human misbehavior.  Unknown at the time to Staff and Authorities, that these Delinquents were to blame, the actions that led to her death, in that moment were probably the only choice.  At the time I didn't think that, but since then I've learned about the time it takes for tranquilizers to take affect.  I still wish things would have gone differently and  I think they could have, had better precautions been taken, but that's in hindsight.  I still would have gone the next day and stood in front of that exhibit and not felt a threat.   Tigers have been able to escape those enclosures for years.  This only happened because of Humans terrorizing her into a frenzy.  That said, our SFZoo hasn't learned anything since.

As I said, I have written many times about Barrier Breaching.  I witness it on every visit.  I complain endlessly.  Still nothing gets done to keep the Animals safe.  Sure there have been signs posted, mostly after I've written about it, but even then, the Zoo falls short in my opinion in proper wording, sizing and placement of these signs.  They also fall short on proper staffing of Security.  Most days, there are two Guards and one is patrolling the parking lot.  This is not a guarded presence.

Over the years, this has been how I feel.  I walk through the gates and beside me other Visitors are allowed to run wild through the Zoo with no guidelines.  Sure a couple years ago the Zoo posted a large sign on the side of the Gift shop at the entrance.  In my opinion this sign is to cover their ass more than put forth any rules of behavior.  If they truly wanted to establish rules for entry, they would be in eye's view, not to the side where most don't look.  I have never seen anyone stop and read that sign.  BUT at the gate house where tickets are presented, there is a huge over head banner that pimps out the next event.  In my opinion the Zoo only cares about grabbing the green, not protecting the Animals who live there.

I have suggested signs at the gate house.  I've suggested video at gate house and cafe. I've suggested rules on the paths and buildings. I've suggested sandwich board signs along paths.  Something that I've seen at Oakland Zoo.  I've suggested painting all the barriers Red.  I've suggested holding entry to every ten minutes and having the gate house employee talk about behavior.  Shit the Zoo installed these awful speakers at some exhibits, why not one at the gate house with a welcome message and guideline rules?   Why? because they have proven not to care about the behavior of the Visitors, in favor of not offending anyone.  In my opinion, anyone who gets offended, is not the type of person you want around Animals.

Visitors are out of control.  There are Humans acting the fool all over the place.  Most are the Adults. They yell at the Animals.  Bang on the glass with their Hands, Feet and Strollers.  Throw stuff into exhibits.  Try and pull Feathers from Peacocks.  Feed the Animals.  At the Farm they even sit on the poor Dwarf Goats.  Parents allow their kids to basically terrorize the place.  They yell and scream all over.  I get they are kids, but there should be some control when in establishments, especially where Animals live and can't escape the sights and sounds. They chase the Seagulls and Peacocks, which in my opinion is bullying.  Would they like the tables turned?  Hell no, but oh well they are just Animals.   Parents don't control their kids, most of the time they are on their phones and not even watching kids.  They think the Zoo and its confined illusion is some sort of babysitter.  Most every incident at other Zoos in recent times, has been some Parent losing control of their kid and dropping them into an exhibit.  .. I have posts on these incidents, you can search them.

Some might say, this is people just being people.  That's fine then.  Should Animals lose their life for the elitist attitude of people thinking they can just do whatever they want?  Its the little things like having no consideration and respect for your surroundings or others, that leads to these incidents.

In my fantasy, Zoos would band together and put the Animals in their care as the Priority, over Human misbehavior.  Except for an escape, any situation that ends up with a Visitor in an exhibit, is because of their own behavior, whether sinister or stupid.   That said, my Zoo would have signs that read, "If you end up in an Animal Enclosure, we will make every effort to extract you, BUT, Not at the expense of the Animals Life.  Act with Caution and Respect." 

Zoos are in a place where they want to give the Visitor the most Natural experience, therefore there are mostly open air exhibits.  Sadly, while that should be a wonderful thing of today, the present day of our Society has proven that isn't what's safe for the Animals.  I think all the Animals should be behind a glass barrier.  That puts an end to all of this.  Humans can keeping doing whatever the hell they want, whether intentional bad behavior or stupidity, and at least the Animals are Safe.  I have come up against photographers that don't like this idea.  To that I have to say, what's more important, taking a photo or the Animals life?    This is not to offend those I know, but its sorta like the Palm Oil situation.  Is stuffing your face with your favorite cookie worth the Animal who lost its life to make that cookie?   

One Animal who is not safe at the San Francisco Zoo is our Precious Belozi.  Everyday this Being is subjected to trespassing.  There is a constant stream of Visitors Breaching the Barrier of his home. They climb, hang, stand, dangle over, all these actions put his life in danger. If someone falls in, BANG he takes a Bullet.   Every time I get an article through my Google Alert like the one today, I hold my breath and pray its not Belozi.

I made this Video last November.  A time when once again I attempted to update my blog.  I never got to that place, so never networked it.  Interesting though, someone gave it a thumbs down.  What kind of person are you to thumbs down something that shows an Animal is in danger?  Please take a moment to view how vulnerable Belozi is.

I started another blog and Facebook Page under the name,  San Francisco Zoo UnCensored. I wanted to write a lead in to that and info about that before resuming posting, but I had to make this post today.  Note that THIS blog, iamnotananteater will remain my main blog for posts.  I will use the new forums to attract new and hopefully more attention to the issues at the San Francisco Zoo.  The alerts there will redirect to this blog.  If you are on Facebook please like the page, as I hope there will be comments posted there.  If you aren't on FB or prefer to post Anonymously, please continue to post comments to this blog and I will copy them to the FB group comments.  Thank you.

If anything you read moves you,
Please Contact the SFZoo Director 
Tanya Peterson