Friday, February 27, 2015

Joint Zoo Committee Meeting - 2.26.15 - Chimps to Stay! - Keepers Speak

Great time at the Meeting!  Knowing that the Chimps had been Saved before going made for an emotionally peaceful time.  

First thing I did was go to Chimps and give them the good news :)  I took some video but need to edit and piece it together.  

I do want to include a photo of these awesome paper mache' Chimps made by my friend Lee Anderson, who I used to do Animal Enrichments with.  She is still active in that passion, making Enrichment Toys for Sanctuary Animals.  She made these and we used them as 3-D signs at last nights meeting.

Thank you to my Friends, Lee Anderson, Nica and Eleanor Doodle and Michael Murphy for making an effort to come to the Meeting in support of the Chimps.  As well, there seemed to be only one other Member of the Public who showed up.  I Thank her, as I expected there would be more.  Thank you Lisa!  Nice to meet you and thank you for saying a few words in support of this crusade!

I also want to note that I didn't print and present the Petition comments at the Meeting.  I felt that it was not necessary in light of the Victory. It was only necessary to illustrate public outcry. So, since I was short on time and that stop to print them out would have made it so I couldn't get in by 3:30 entry cut-off, I chose not to.  I will follow-thru on this in the near future and send a copy to Director Peterson.  I hope everyone understands and isn't disappointed.  I apologize.

Video I took of Director Peterson's Announcement and Presentation.

Portions of the Meeting that I want to focus on are as follows:

I thought this was very well put together.  It contained photos and graphics that indicated that there was prior (to me finding out about the situation) research on her part.  The specifics of this could not have been totally done in less than two days.  I know because I've sat here putting together blog posts that take half a day sometimes.  That said, the photos of her visiting the other facilities don't do anything to change my belief that after doing so the plan to move them was indeed in motion.  The graphic of the proposed new exhibit design answered a question I was going to have about design moving forward, in regards to ability to keep a new group separate pending introductions/integration.

I was happy to hear that there were plans for their current home while raising funds and ground breaking for their new home was in the process.  As I understand making extensive upgrades, even though much needed, wasn't even necessary to keeping them here, as long as plans for new exhibit was confirmed.  Seeing the plans and learning later that they have budgeted $250,000 for the project was way more than I expected.  KUDOS!  I will be doing a post about simple things I'd like to see in an upgrade, but what they showed with the above ground air trails, is wonderful.  I have seen this online from other zoos and I think its a great addition and way to go, as it seems like by making upgrades above the surface of the current exhibit, it will allow them to demolish if necessary the ground level after they move to the new exhibit.  Then building something new in that space will be half complete.  

I think the location for a new exhibit is a great plan.  I didn't know that space was available to build on. I had been thinking the site of former Monkey Island.  I do like that this space has natural trees that could be used.  My only concern is the weather factor coming from the Ocean if it is not a "pit" exhibit, but an above ground one.  This area borders Ocean Beach and it is colder and windier along Great Hiway than anywhere else in the Zoo.  Hopefully that is taken into consideration.  I only think of this because I was talking once with former Keeper John Alcaraz and we were talking about the old Rhino exhibit area past south gate, on way to Grizzlies.  He said, that area can not be used for Primates as they would be too susceptible to sickness.  He said it used to be called "Pneumonia Alley".

Interesting note on bringing in Rescue Chimps!  

Aside from the Awesome News of the Chimps Staying, I was very proud to see a large group of Keepers present at the Meeting.  Thank you to Dave, Corey, Dayna and Collette who spoke.  I was happy to hear they have formed a Keeper Group (I forgot the name, even though I asked Dave for it) that will bring up Animal Care issues to the Commission each month.  KUDOS to them for banding together and coming forward publicly to do what's best for the Animals.  NOT KUDOs goes to Rec and Park Commissioner Mark Buell who told them that while they would follow-up on these issues, he essentially reprimanded them for using the Meeting forum to address these issues.  Shame on him! I will be writing a letter to him.  Does he know how much guts it took for the Keepers to do this? Maybe he isn't aware that by speaking up they are often ignored, reprimanded, or fired for doing so. Its really disgusting that he felt he had to get that dig in.  People like that on the governing panel of the Zoo are why we have a Zoo with the issues it has.  ... I was disturbed by the issue that Dayna spoke on, that indicated the doors at Gorillas have still not been repaired!  What!?  ... and Corey spoke about a disease that is infecting a portion of the Lemur population, while the Zoo continues to bring in additional species of that Animal.  So awful his description of what is happening to them.  I will have to get the name of the issue and post it.  .. I am saddened and disappointed yet not surprised when I hear these things and I have to wonder, why aren't the Vets and Animal Care VP David Bocian speaking out about these issues?  

I want to make a note of a Member of the Public who commented many times.  This person I had seen at every meeting I went to several years ago.  So, I assume he is still going regularly.  I have never gotten a good feeling from this person's agenda based on what he says.  He comes off as and may very well be, aligned with the group In Defense of Animals.  Most times I hear anyone associated with this group speak, I can only think they are not "for" animals, but against "zoos".  Close the Zoo Zealots I call them.  I have often heard this persons statements and wonder if he knows anything about our Animals individually.  Tonight I heard him rebut most everything Director Peterson said. We all know I am not a fan of Peterson's , but I also am not a fan of bullshit.  I can't remember specifics, but I can say that each time he opened his mouth, except for the last thing he said, he responded to her words, like he hadn't heard what she was saying.  If you are reading this, please learn about our Animals, and also listen to what's being said and answer accordingly.  

I think that's about it.  I missed some of the topics.  I wish the Meetings were video taped, as the Minutes don't do them justice.  I had not gone to a Meeting in four years for various reasons.  I plan to try and be at more as well I encourage others concerned and curious with the Zoo to do so.  You always read the Minutes at:


  1. I am so glad I went to this meeting. I have to say i agree again,with all you have stated. I was proud to see these specific keepers finally come together as one and stand up for problems that have long been ignored. The vet was thete, i was thinking "can't he say anything?" i thought it was awesome for a member of the public stand up and speak with heartfelt passion regarding the chimps. Congratulations on your extensive rallying so that our precious chimps can live out their senior years together in pretty much the only home they have ever known.

    1. @Andie - Thank you for your comment. I apologize for the delay in replies to all comments. I worked hard to present the information in all aspects of Networking this situation. That left me exhausted, but it was all worth it. I'm here now to post replies. Will do my best to do so in hindsight of the Victory! ... Thank you for making the effort to go! Strength in numbers! Yes! I was so glad to see someone outside our circle, be there as a member of the public and speak! Bravo to Lisa! Thank you for recognizing my efforts. I often get long winded, but I like to put forth all I know on an issue, for the best possible portrayal of issue and in this case for the eventual outcome to be in the favor of the Animals. Thankful and relieved that this Victory for them came and came fast!

  2. Thank you for your work on this web blog and petition that helped bring about the resolution of this dilemma yesterday. The paper mache' chimps are delightful. The video of the slides at the meeting was very helpful as were the Director's explanations, and the elegant Lisa was eloquent. I am disappointed by Mark Buell's attitude toward those who take care of the animals and I have to wonder if he has the animals' interests in mind at all. The November horror and the promises to fix the doors should not be ignored. What is "oversight" for?


    1. @Alina - Thank you for your comment. I apologize for the delay in replies to all comments. I worked hard to present the information in all aspects of Networking this situation. That left me exhausted, but it was all worth it. I'm here now to post replies. Will do my best to do so in hindsight of the Victory! ... Thank you for the kudos. No matter how emotionally exhausting continually blogging about the Zoo is, I do it for the Animals. I'm glad that in this situation that my efforts were able to be brought to attention by the News piece so that we could have the opportunity for this Victory! The Chimps were awesome! I plan to send them to John Alcarez, the Chimps first Keeper who was interviewed in the News piece. He's not online so this doesn't ruint he surprise ;) I think he will treasure them along with his other memorbilia. Hopefull Lisa has read your complimients. I too was really happy to see another member of the public there, brought in by the story. I wasn't thinking to film her when she spoke, so glad she wasn't camera shy and gave me an interview. In regards to Mark Buell, I still haven't gotten a letter off to him, but in my opinion, a majority of those who sit on the board of the zoo and park, ect, could care less really. Its probably a big drain to them when anything they have to put effort into arrives. ... I'm not really sure what to make of "oversight" but there sure is no checks and balances. Things are always off there. As well the Gorilla door considering the tragedy and controversy I'm a bit surprised at, but if you search my other blog you wil read about how the Zoo didn't fix the heater in the Lion House for over six months, leaving the Big Cats and the Tropical Aviary Animals in the cold all through Winter and our cold snap!


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