Since I don't know what Zoo Management will come up with as a reason for denying my Membership, I gotta say a few things about my conduct at the Zoo and things that I've done to help the Animals.
When my Membership was revoked in 2011, it was purely based on Zoo Director Tanya Peterson trying to silence me. She didn't like me knowing anything that was going on there, and therefore being able to stand up for the Animals. By taking away my membership and forcing me to pay each time I visited, her goal was to limit the amount of time I spent there, therefore limiting the amount of information I would gather. I didn't work there, so she couldn't fire me for being a Voice for the Animals, keeping me out was the only way.
Someone told me they read Director Peterson's words after the Presidential Inauguration, welcoming President Trump and hoping he will take care of our wild things! ... Is she kidding? Did/does she support Trump? How could anyone think that man and his murderous spawn would care about anything wild? ... I relay this because I was outraged when I heard this. I have never thought Director Peterson was someone who cared about the Zoo or the Animals. She has proven that in many of her decisions in the near ten years she has been Director. Now that we have lived through several months of this Presidential Administration, I see parallels in the was people are treated. She has run the Zoo as a Dictatorship. Banning press. Trying to silence those who speak up. And firing those who don't play the game her way.
I feel like taking my membership is equal to firing me, because that's the only way she can control me.
So, let's list a few things I've done at the Zoo in the past nine.half years.
I've shared my knowledge about the Animals with other Visitors, Volunteers and Staff.
I've made Enrichment Toys for the Big Cats and on occasion Bears, when Staff being paid to provide these items did not. In fact two Bear Keepers called me a day before the Teddy Bear Festival and said no one made Enrichment Items for the event could we. So after spending 25+ hrs each on Big Cat Toys for that week, both Lee and I made Bear Toys as well. For a Zoo sponsored event.
I've identified numerous Animal Health issues and report to Staff. Including witnessing a Bear have a seizure, to which the Zoo allegedly tried to cover it up even to the Bear's primary Keeper. ...One time I called in about an Animal bleeding, and after the Keeper came round, Director Peterson showed up in the area with a group of people, put both her hands on my arms and shook me, incoherently yelling, "He's going to bleed". I felt assaulted. I was later told by a Security Guard that she retold this story and said I ran up to her and grabbed her radio off her hip to call for help about the Animal. If that were true I would have had my membership taken away at that time, which was a year before in 2010. She also told Staff I was Unstable and to keep me away from media at events.
I've identified numerous Animal Welfare issues and reported them to Staff. Including people sitting over and standing on barriers, throwing objects at the Animals, feeding the Animals non-diet food, actually sitting on small Goats at the Farm (often while certain Staff have stood by and watched). This action could end those Dwarf Goats life. ... If these were direct threats to Animal Safety, I of course asked the offender not to do whatever it was they were doing. On several occasions within the last year I have been sworn at by Visitors, and when Security finally showed up, between them and Management, nothing was done. Those offenders were allowed to stay. They were not asked if they had memberships to which could be in jeopardy. One set of rules for me, another for everyone else.
I've posted many ideas via my blog, hoping the Zoo would use them, as they failed to think of things on their own many times. ... Many things were implemented, to name one, the Polar Bear expansion was an idea posted in my blog. They also fixed a dangerous build in the Snow Leopard training platform that I noticed. Whoever built that should have known better, as should the Animal Staff who put it there and use it.
I've documented via blog, many issue points that were not being attended to by Management.
These are only things that I can think of off top of my head. There have been countless things I've done and reported to help the Animals. But to some, I'm the enemy. And to Management, the Worst Member in History. Unbelievable. Yet, not really when we have a Management Team there that constantly makes decisions that are not in the best interest of the Animals, covers things up and gets rid of anyone who speaks up against the wrongs.
In the past nine.half years there have been too many things that have been questionable, curious, concerning and just plain wrong at the Zoo. All that come to mind have been Management decisions and these decision came down from protocol put forward by Director Peterson. Director Peterson herself has been in the News too many times regarding some bad press issues.
One of the first things I will take issue with, goes hand in hand with an issue still happening uncountable times a day at the Zoo. In 2009, two years after the Tiger event, a visitor made their way into the Grizzly Bear enclosure. You can read the specifics online, but the issue points are such that this should never have happened. Two things. After the Tiger event, all Code Red Animal Exhibit Barriers should have been upgraded to prevent breaching by Human or Animal. And my first question after hearing this, Why, is the Zoo open til 5p when the time changes? I immediately sent an email to Director Peterson, saying the Hours need to be changed when it starts getting dark early and asked if she was waiting for another Tiger Tragedy? She adopted it as her own and requested the Joint Zoo Panel agree to the change. Second, the forever issue of Barrier Breaching.
After that it has been a long string of building new areas to entertain Humans, and bringing in new Animals, building them new enclosures, while Animals who have lived there for years live in outdated enclosures. ... Many times her new and shiny toys, didn't even get the homes they were promised, as allegedly funding was never in place for it to begin with. She just moved onto the next thing. Case and Point, the Komodo Dragon. This poor Animal was promised a new enclosure within a year.half after arriving. Three years later he was still living in the Terrarium he had outgrown. He developed spinal issues the Zoo alleges are genetic, but many think is because he has not had the room to properly grow. ... It is no secret to readers here what happened with the Chimps. You can search my blog, as I was the one to feed this story to the media. In short, allegedly Director Peterson didn't like the Chimps, and wanted to ship them out without attention, in favor of bringing in Orangutans. Things have changed but WOW to have a Director who cares so little about the Well Being of Chimps who have lived near 50 years at the Zoo, is really disgusting.
While on the subject of Apes, another tragedy that got media attention was the situation that led to the infant Gorilla Kabibe losing her life. Many to blame in this, and of course Director Peterson allegedly in the mix. ... Another Primate story, recently in the News, about the young Patas Monkey and his terminal illness which it was allegedly Director Peterson's word that prolonged his suffering. This all happened during a time when the Zoo didn't even have a full-time Vet on Staff (for almost two months), because we have a Director who allegedly cares more about getting rid of people (both Vets) who disagree with her, than having Medical Staff for the Animals.
There's been a long string of Animal deaths that have been questionable. One that I think of every time I see the Black Swan at the Puente. This poor Lady had a Sister. They were moved all around the Zoo because no geographically suitable place could be found. They landed at the Puente. Why couldn't they just stay there? Oh no can't have that. They were moved to the part of the lake where the White Pelicans used to live. Allegedly this was a place where bacteria in the water was known that could be harmful to them. Well it was, and one died. Now the lone Lady is back at the Puente.
The Zoo is old. Many of the buildings have lead paint. There is a protocol for removing lead paint. Do we think the Zoo follows that? No! Allegedly the paint sanded at the male Anteaters home was not properly handled and there were sanding chips all over the ground. Note that this Animal was moved from Puente because he was eating the dirt. So here he is now, possibly eating lead paint chips mixed into his ground covering. I pray for him and to never find out he had lead poisoning. ... Paint has been chipping from the Chimp House for near twenty years. You think they could paint it? Seal it? Something? Even the AZA did not cite them for this?! I have seen the Chimps sticking their fingers in the chipped part and then putting it in their mouth.
Let's go on barriers now. First, the lack of signage about this is insane. ... Will mention the Anteater since I just talked about him. Even though this is not a Code Red Animal, no Animals home should be breachable to the point where someone could hang over, sit on, stand on or cross the barriers with ease. I have written about so many of these offenses its ridiculous that nothing has changed there. Even a Docent I know wrote Director Peterson about people laying across this poor Animals barrier. Only when the Zoo had their AZA Accreditation inspection was a barrier deterrent put up. That said, nothing has been done to deter at the hot spots, Black Rhinos and Hippo. Polar Bear was included in this but with the recent loss of Ulu, this is not an issue now. The Black Rhino and Hippo have people constantly hanging over into their enclosure. One slip and these Animals are shot dead. No one cares. I've talked about it for years.
Visitors run wild through the Zoo and do all kinds of behaviors that disturb and harass the Animals and the Zoo lets them. Breaching Barriers, yelling at the Animals, pounding their chests at the Apes, Howling at the Wolves, banging and kicking windows, throwing things at the Animals and into enclosures (several Animals have had to have surgery because of this), feeding them non-diet food (one Animal was recently really sick, even losing his sight and hearing because of this), there have even been people assaulting Birds in the Aviary because no one cares to watch the free roaming Animals in there. Its all happening at the Zoo and no one cares. Management allows this. They say they don't , but there is very little to caution not to, and when you report it, either no one comes or when they do they let people continue on their way. Last year someone threw rocks at the Tiger to get it to move for them, and they were allowed to stay! Outrageous! That is a physical assault on an Animal and nothing. Same thing when I reported people throwing stuff at a Flamingo while it sat on its nest, on its egg! Offenses all over the place and that's okay there. Going back to 2007, You know if the person who saw the Dhaliwal's tormenting the Lions before getting to the Tigers, had reported it and they had been ejected, Tatiana would still be alive. Oh and I'll end this by noting that I'm sure if the Dhaliwals wanted to get a Membership , they could!
Is your head spinning yet? Mine is and its dinner time. This list could never be complete, but I think I've put forth enough to illustrate my point.
All these Animal issues, together with the long list of Director tyranny against Staff, and I'm branded the worst thing to happen to the Zoo? The whole thing makes me sick. We need a Zoo leader who has the Animals best interest in mind. Can work together and respect Staff who have experience and care. For that matter, respect anyone who cares, because its those who care who are going to keep the Zoo thriving for the future.