Sunday, October 2, 2016

HOT TOPIC! - Misconduct at the San Francisco Zoo - Why Does Management Let It Happen?

I am still really bothered about the "ejection" policy at our San Francisco Zoo.   ... As well, all the other Offences comes to mind and the endless documenting I've done and suggesting of deterrents, both with signage, audio respect reminders, barriers, and visual awareness by Docents, Staffers, and Security themselves. 

I visit the Zoo at least once a week, recently more often.  In my once a week visits, I'm there maybe five hours, and the offences I see are multiple, a good indicator of what goes on the 49 hours a week the Zoo is open.

I've posted many times about Visitor Misbehavior, but after seeing a Visitor calculate and deliberately throw something at an Animal and not be asked to leave, not only bothers me, but disgusts me.  You can read in full about this incident from yesterday in the previous post.  

What I came away with from that incident was stuff I already knew based on other incidents, but let's just review to be clear.  If you throw something at a Zoo Animal, even if it hits the Animal, just make sure you don't do it again.  You are also welcome to verbally abuse other Visitors and that won't even be addressed.  .... The additional thing that still really bothers me, is the fact that these Offenders were drinking liquor bought at the Zoo AND endangering the Animals AND still allowed to stay. Mind Boggling. 

This is the second time I've personally witnessed Animals having things thrown at them and nothing being done about it, but not the first time I've heard about it.  Not the first time I've seen people throw stuff into enclosures either.  Nothing has changed in five years.  

The incident a few months ago with the Stoller Mom throwing Rocks at the Male Siberian was so alarming to me.  This was an Act of Violence against this Animal.  Assault.  All because she wanted him to wake up.  You can't even take a nap in the sun peacefully in your own home and be safe. Disgraceful the Zoo did not make an example of this Offender and Defend this Animal in their Care.

Not to people.  The Zoo is a place to observe Animals.  Its not the Circus, they are not there to Entertain you.

Obviously there is going to be Misconduct because that is the nature of our Society, Disrespectful Elitists who think they can do anything they want.  Its the Adults who are the Offenders.  Sure I'm irritated when I see Kids running wild, chasing the Peacocks and Gulls, Banging on the Glass, Yelling at the Animals, Throwing and Dropping objects into Exhibits, but even with those issues, its the Adults at fault for not Teaching their Kids how to behave and that's because they themselves see no issue with it.  I have asked Parents not to let their Kid,... only to be met with "They are just Kids", Yes, but you're not.   Parents don't teach their Kids how to behave or respect, because they don't have good behavior themselves.  Just the other day, two Member Moms and their combined five Kids were at the Wolves and Mom's were talking with themselves and laughing at their <cough> adorable little terrors, running along the glass and banging on it, howling at the Wolves.  I didn't' say anything, I just filmed them and called Security, which is what I've mostly been doing if its not a direct and immediate danger to the Animals, because I don't need drama.  Security caught up with them at Grizzlies, where they were banging on the glass there too.

There are No Signs at any glassed in enclosure that say Do Not Bang on Glass. Why?  Ask the Zoo, because its a no brainer.   The ARC once had a great sign on the glass that said Do Not Bang, Tap, Rap, Slap, Pound, ... a list  and they were told to take it down.  More evidence that the Zoo just doesn't seem to want to dictate the behavior of the Visitors, even when its detrimental to the Animals.  
There are No Signs at Wolves not to Howl at them.  This is a big problem there, which I've complained about and no one seems to think its of issue or I'd see a sign there.  I see people every visit Howling at the Wolves.  One visit in over ten minutes, three groups Offended.  The first day they were out, the Zoo's own Zoo Camp leaders had a group of Kids lined up at the fencing Howling at them!  UnBelievable!  Well really not.  I've seen Camp leaders and other Education Staff allow inappropriate behavior and I have never heard any respect lessons being given.

Howling at the Wolves is not the only Species Specific Mimic I hear.  There is always someone who thinks Hooting and Banging their Chest at the Gorillas and Chimps is funny, its not.    It upsets the Animals, and the Male Gorilla is one that the Zoo has known for years is easily upset and they do nothing to deter the behavior.  In fact I wrote a blog post or maybe even a letter to the Director years ago with suggestions.   There should be a sign on the glass at the viewing areas not to do this or to stare at the Male for prolonged time, he doesn't like it.

Then there is the whole group of Parents who think the Zoo is their babysitter and let their Kids run wild and often a few car lengths ahead of them, while they are on their phone texting or looking at Facebook.  Just last week a guy with Triplet Toddlers let them all run toward the Flamingos and one almost fell in.   Guess they didn't hear about the Cincinnati Zoo Gorilla incident.  Seriously people need to leash their Toddlers to avoid danger both to the Animals and themselves.  But, no one cares till there's an accident.

That said, then we have those Parents who still hang their Kids over into Animal Enclosures.  Even after Kids have been Dropped in and Killed at other Zoos.  They don't care, they think they can do whatever they want or it won't happen to them.  Well what happens when it does?  Our Animal Gets Shot, that's what happens.

Another issue, People feeding the Animals.  The Zoo Animals have Special Diets, Do Not Feed Them!   People should just know, you don't feed the Animals, but obviously they don't.  The Zoo put up signs maybe last year, again only in select areas (why not every Enclosure?).  That said, People also don't read signs, but at least some might and think, Gee we aren't supposed to feed them and get the message. For those who don't, they most often not only think its ok, but think its funny.  I know this because I've asked many people not to feed the Animals, and they laugh, and most of the time do it anyway and I have to call Security.

Recently a Group of Adults were feeding the Siamangs greenery they pulled from someplace.  I asked them not to do that, that isn't what they eat and they just continued, mocking me while they did.  I called Security, but they were on their way to the Stroller Mom who was Throwing Rocks at the Tiger.  I kept on these People and eventually they moved on to the Squirrel Monkeys, and then started feeding them.  Finally a Maintenance guy came by and talked to them and also called the Keeper at my request so they could see if anything foreign in the enclosure and also note to monitor if they get sick.

If you ever see someone feeding the Animals or foreign objects including food items, please alert Security to alert the Keeper, so they can note the item and document for health monitoring. 
One awful and dangerous feeding I caught was when I noticed from a good distance away, one of the Farm Goats with a sucker sticking out of its mouth.   I dashed over in time to pull it out before it ingested the stick.  I of course asked the people, What's wrong with you?  Why would you give that to the Goat?  No Answer, just giggles.  I told the Keeper, who like in every other Animal Endangerment situation she's been present for, doesn't want to confront the Offenders.  She too is on my previous post mentioned list of Why this person even has a job at the Zoo.  

Other Animals not so lucky, who have had non-food items thrown into their enclosures include Niya the Snow Leopard who ingested what I heard was a ball of tin foil and had to have surgery to remove it from her intestines, one of the Sea Lions, and a three time surgery for one of the Gorillas.  These are the only one's I've heard about, which means there are more.

As I mentioned in the previous post, there is a repeat offender who is feeding the Andean Condor. She was finally asked to leave, but is a Member and still allowed to come back.  So, if there is no one watching, she will just keep doing what she wants, and in my opinion that is life threatening to that Bird, but I guess the Zoo doesn't care.

Going back to the Farm, a big Offence there is people trying to ride the Dwarf Goats.  WTF is wrong with people?  These Goats are small, and many are Seniors.  If they break a bone, that's it, they would have to be put down.  So this is not an innocent action.  I've had to leap into action a few times before someone's ass sat on one.  Once in front of that same Keeper who doesn't do anything when these things happen.  .. There needs to be a sign Do Not Sit On the Animals!

So, feeding Goats Suckers and trying to Ride them, both potentially life threatening offences, do not even get you kicked out of the Zoo.

You can even Throw Rocks at Tigers and be allowed to stay, as long as you don't do it again. 

So, what does get you kicked out of the Zoo?  I have no idea, because I think the things I listed here should and they don't.

One time a guy was in the Farm with a stick and hitting the Goats.  I didn't' see it, because I would have taken his damn stick and broke it, but my friend did and told him to stop and he said, "I paid my $15"!!  WTF?  So that must also be the mentality of many Offenders.  They think since they paid to get in they can do whatever they want.  Well, the Zoo is basically letting this theory be rule by not ejecting more Offenders.  Their "Judgement Call" policy if Flawed and does not Support the Welfare of the Animals in their Care.

San Francisco Zoo Please take a Stand Against Animal Abuse.  Please have Stricter Protocol on Visitor Abuse of the Animals.  Send a Message that the San Francisco Zoo will not tolerate Misbehavior.


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  1. I hadn't read this one; but the rock throwing is very serious. I like you loved zoos since I was a small child, but now, not so much. In this day and age I would rather see them not exist. Though that's not a solution in practicality. I don't know what is. I don't know how so many people got to be this way.- Joanne

  2. @Joanne - Thank you for your comment. Not sure why I'm just seeing this. ... I agree with you. I think there's a few things going on with this issue, still relevant near two years after this post. People, especially in SF are under the impression that they are of an elite group of Humans. I find that since the age of technology, and the influx of people to this area, the masses are made up of a majority of rude and self-important types. They do whatever they want with no regard for anyone else and I'm counting the Animals as anyone. I see awful disrespectful behavior everyday. In respect to the Zoo, I still have never seen anyone get ejected. The rules for that seem to be fluid depending on who it is, what they are doing, and who the Manager on Duty is that makes that call. That said, I have noted the rock throwing at a Tiger no less and that didn't get someone kicked out, even after the Tatiana Tiger event. So there lays the issue of people knowing nothing will be done to them if they commit these crimes against the Animals. Myself, if I was in charge, I would make a public statement that these offenses aren't going to be tolerated and people will be asked to leave first offense with no refund. There needs to be Zero tolerance policy when the well-being of the Animals comes into play.


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