Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Another News Piece on the Young Patas Monkey

I wasn't prepared for what came through on my News Alert today.  I'm sick to my stomach by the photos shared by Jesse-Patrick's Keeper Dayna.   I feel like crying.  It sounded awful when described in the first article 4.23.17, but these photos are shocking and heartbreaking.  I visit that Patas Monkey's near every visit, and I'm not sure how I missed this.  It has been raining, and I remember several times looking into the exhibit and not seeing them out.  Somehow these few weeks went by and I've felt guilty for not knowing, since I first heard about this.   Now,  I feel it would have broke my heart to witness this

You can read the article and view the video containing photos, and Keeper interview here:

I'm going to post my personal Memorial photo of Jesse-Patrick and one of his Family.  After seeing those heartbreaking photos in the news story, you must see him in happier times.

                                          Jesse-Patrick at six months old

                               In December at one year old with his Mama Winnie and Sister Freida.                        

I sit here trying to organize my thoughts through sadness for this poor little Soul and his Family.  I feel awful for Dayna to have to watch this develop and hope for an end to Jesse-Patrick's suffering.   

When I wrote my first post about this tragedy, I was heartbroken, I still am that this little life was cut short.  As I often do, I write posts with peripheral information.  Reading it back now, I realize there was so much of that (because there's a lot of wrong at the Zoo), and wasn't enough about the specifics of Jesse-Patrick's situation.  Maybe, I feel that way in hindsight because of how powerful what Dayna has now shared is.  

I also call attention to the follow-up post that I wrote, right after the first one.  I hesitated to post it and then didn't get back to it.  I posted it before writing this one, in light of today's News story.  I want to reiterate something that I wrote in that post.  ... The Keepers at the Zoo work in fear of losing their jobs if they say anything about what goes on there.  That said, a lot that goes on, stays secret.  If this story is being made public,  all details, information, accusations, everything, are true.  Sadly.  

That said, I trust Dayna's observations, compassion and that she knows these Animals.  She would not make a claim to end an Animals life, if it wasn't the best thing for him.  Unfortunately as I've noted before,  Management does not value the knowledge that the Keepers have in regard to the Animals in their care.  Keepers are the core of Animal Care, yet at the Zoo, a facility that supposedly cares for Animals, they (Keepers) are pretty low on the totem pole.  Its not right.

In my previous post I wrote about the Director, the Zoological Society and the SF Recreation and Park and how that all plays to the highest levels of Management.  Let's also take a look at a couple of the "players" in Animal Care, Management.  I'll note here that these are upper level positions and allegedly will always side with the Director over the Keepers. ...  I'll start with Jason Watters who was interviewed in this news piece and sided with Director Peterson.  I'll start by saying, I have never met this guy, I've seen him maybe three times, and I've heard nothing good about him.  So, who is he? He's the head of the Wellness Dept.  Let me say something about the Wellness Dept.  While I don't know everything they do, I've had a problem with the word "wellness" since I first heard it used at the Zoo in 2012.  To me, Wellness is a given.  I assume its part of the Animals expected health care. I feel like they pulled out this word to pat themselves on the back, and then developed a whole Dept. Anyway, I rarely see this guy, so what's he doing all day, since he's full-time?  I have seen the Wellness Interns observing the Animals.  I think that's a good thing.  Anyone else in that Dept, not sure what they do.  David Bocian, haven't seen this guy around in months, but I know he's still there and I think still the head of Animal Care.  Personally,  the conversations I've had with him, I haven't learned anything, if you get my drift.  So, in this particular situation, the Animal Care Management team seemed to be Watters and Bocian, who then conferred with Director Peterson.  If they wanted to keep their jobs, they did what she told them to do, because that's how the Zoo is run.  ... In my opinion, the Animal Management Team needs to value and support what their full-time Keepers tell them about the Animals in their care.

Two more things that are very bothersome about Jesse-Patrick's heath situation.

The USDA came out and found that there was "no non-compliant" issue.   ... I assume that means they felt all decisions being made by Management were in accordance?  ... I contacted the USDA on a previous serious issue and never got a response.  So, my faith in them is not the highest.

The AZA said that it requires Director's to make final decisions on Animal's lives.  ... What happens when the Zoo has a Director with no Animal knowledge?  and a fear of looking bad to anyone outside the walls?  Because she doesn't care how she looks to her own Staff.  Not well liked, yet she stays. ... Again I have contacted the AZA on a couple serious issues.  They don't follow-up with you, but since nothing changed in those situations, I assume they didn't care.  My opinion of the AZA is that they will do minimal to "push" a Zoo to do right things, because that could influence their monetary intake in a way that doesn't line their pockets.

Lastly, I 100% believe Dayna when she says Jesse-Patrick's life was held hostage based on what Director Peterson thought would be public perception. .

I know there are other Animal Welfare situations that are not tended to for the same reason.

I'm Sorry Precious Little Jesse-Patrick.

Monday, May 1, 2017

What Needs to Happen, To Replace Director Peterson?

I second guessed myself in posting this, originally written April 23, 2017 as a follow-up to my last post regarding the passing of the young Patas Monkey Jesse-Patrick.  In light of today's news article regarding JP (and the post I will write about that), I feel like putting forth all my thoughts.  What I know, gives a better picture of what goes on at the Zoo.  I am the only one outside the walls who seems to know anything and/or cares enough to make it public.


I feel like crying about this whole situation with the Patas Monkey death.  I am beyond frustrated with things that go on at the Zoo.  And then there are things like this, that are just heartbreaking.

How many troubling incidents involving Animal Welfare, have to happen, before we can get rid of Director Peterson and get a Director who actually cares about the Zoo?

I know it sounds odd as I write "we", since I don't work there, but I'm very involved emotionally with the Zoo Animals and therefore the Zoo.  The Zoo is City owned and therefore is owned in a sense by all San Francisco Residents.

Anytime there is a news article, I can't help but read the comments.  Even though I start by telling myself I'm not going to.  I'm compelled and then I just get upset.  I'm defensive because I care about the Animals, and I care what happens to their home.  I care that a place I've gone to my whole life, continues to thrive for the future.  I have grown to think of alternative ways Zoos should exist, but keeping the Zoo healthy in all aspects benefits the Animals, current and future.

It started with the Tiger event in 2007.  Then I didn't know anything about the inner working of the Zoo, all I knew is that I was there that day and Tatiana was not agitated or underfed as many said.  I know that I stood in front of that enclosure my whole life and never felt unsafe, and would have done it again the day after the attack.  I knew the difference between a recommended and required wall height.  I felt I had to defend the Zoo, often spending hours responding to comments and trying to educate people.  I continued to do so for the next two years.  As I learned more about the Animals, I continued to try and endear people to the Animals, hoping to clear the dark cloud from the Tiger event.

There are not many people outside the walls that know what really goes on at the Zoo.  Yet I hear and read comments based on I don't know what.  It makes me mad.  I don't claim to know everything, but I do know alot and contrary to what some think, I only write about things I know about.  I'm also the only one I know of outside the walls that is a voice for these Animals.  In the case of Director Peterson trying to kick out the Chimps, I'm the only one, who cared enough to help them stay in their home, a place they have lived for over forty years.  Not one person who even works there did anything.  They could have called attention to this move, and done what I did, but no one did. 

The comments I read on today's article, had many defending Director Peterson's caution for delaying to end the Patas Monkey's life.   The reason I do not believe this to be true is I have myself questioned decisions that I thought may have ended lives too soon.  So I suspect that may be something that happens.  What I do know, is that Staff is very apprehensive in letting anything outside the walls for fear of losing their jobs.  So, if they went this far, to make this public, I believe there is truth to their claims.

So, this brings me back to the question, how long before we can get rid of Director Peterson?  Here's the problem.  The City relinquished managing to the Zoological Society.  The Zoological Society is made up of rich society folk, who have no interest in the Zoo past writing checks and throwing cocktail parties.  The City appointed the SF Recreation and Park to oversee the Zoological Society.  The Rec and Park, have no interest in doing that beyond the monthly meetings, where they push papers, pat each other on the back and take Peterson's word on everything.  So she would have to be removed by one of these groups, the City, the Rec and Park, or her cocktail buddies at the Zoological Society.  In a 2011 letter to the Zoological Board Chairman (at the time) David Stanton, I stressed there were no checks and balances, no interest from the Society, and unrest between Staff and Management.  Nothing has changed, its only gotten worse.   So, who exactly will fire her?