Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Short (I hope) of It! - A Synopsis of the Situation

As noted in the previous post, I plan to try and form a Synopsis of the Situation for both an At-A-Glance and a guideline for letter writing.  I tend to be wordy because I like to paint a full picture of things, but some people like "get to the point", so my attempt will be to bullet point the Key issues.  

Yesterday I talked to someone who made me think about some things.  One person asked me if what Tanya was doing is Illegal?  I said, no but Immoral.  My position on this is from a point of caring. They asked how I knew of this move and I told them I heard it from many Staff Members.  While I do not think this is a secret, I usually do not write about anything I do not see or seek out on my own. That said, because there has been no official statement, I am left to fill in the blanks with what I've been told third party, my experience with the Zoo and Director Peterson, and the evidence of years of visiting the Chimps.  Do I wish I had more information?  Sure.  Would information put forth in a public statement be accurate?  Mostly likely No.  The Zoo tends to put a spin on things to their liking, so I have written posts with confidence that what I have put together is as close to the truth as it can be.

Fact: Three Senior Chimpanzees at the San Francisco Zoo are being Kicked Out.  Sent to a yet confirmed Animal Facility in Florida.

Fact:  These Three Chimps have lived at the SFZoo for 45 + years.  Two their whole life.

Fact: The Residents of the City of San Francisco voted to build a new home for the Zoo Apes (Chimpanzees and at the time Orangutans).  The Great Ape Forest Never materialized.  Money went missing.  Never accounted for.  Never replaced.

Fact:  The last upgrade to the Chimpanzee's home was in the mid-80s.

Fact:  The Zoo has done nothing to add to the Environment of the Chimp habitat for over 30 years.

Fact:  The AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) guideline for housing Chimpanzees is in "ideal" group sizes of 4-7 or more.  

Fact:  Our Family Group went from 4 to 3 with the 2013 passing of our Tallulah.

Fact:  Other Zoos in similar situation, have been given a generous timeline to either make upgrades to the current exhibits or build new ones, in order to be able to bring in additional Chimpanzees.

3rd Parties:  The Chimps home has allegedly never been a priority, through at least the past three Directors plans. ... This in my opinion is evidence by there being no upgrades since mid 80s.

3rd Parties:  The Chimps are allegedly part of a personal agenda to rid the Zoo of certain Animals, in favor of bringing in New ones.  ... This seems to be evident now with this move, and in hindsight over the past couple years, of all the other species who have been shipped out, while others brought in.

3rd Parties:  There is an alleged future plan to bring in a different species of Ape and go ahead with building a new exhibit for them. ... In my opinion THIS should never be allowed to happen.  They can't build one for Senior Chimps to live out their lives, but they can build one for another new species?  Disgusting.

3rd Parties:  This move has allegedly been in motion for over a year. ... This is recent information and if true, makes the situation even more disgusting because I have seen the attention to the Chimps dwindle with every visit.  So essentially they have just been left to languish for a year until the plans took shape.  They have gotten less and less Enrichment.  The last time I was there they actually had nothing left out for them but a bit of their diet to forage for.  Their home has paint chipping off the sides.  One of their structures is also chipping paint to reveal severe rusting.

3rd Parties:  NO ONE CARES!  Allegedly, no one (inside the Zoo) has even tried to keep them from moving.  Very Sad if this is true.

This information raises many questions.

Obviously I know the answer to this, but I must still ask,  Does the San Francisco Zoo Want To Keep These Three Senior Chimps?

Is the AZA mandating this move (because of size of group)?

If yes, did the Zoo try to work with the AZA on what they would have to do to be able to bring in additional Chimps?

If upgrades or new habitat needed to be built,  Did they ask for a generous extension to complete these upgrades?

If that wasn't even on the table as a requirement, then why are they moving?  Bring in a couple more younger female Chimps and slowly integrate them.  ... Exhibit still needs some upgrading and new exhibit should be built in the future regardless.

Are the Chimps moving because Director Peterson just plain doesn't want them there?

Why hasn't the Zoo over the past 17 years since the City Bond was voted in, ever made any attempt to upgrade their current home or build a new home for the Chimps?

Where did that money go?

Why is money spent to build exhibits for new Animals, before taking care of the old?

Why is money spent to build other areas such as the Tiki Hut above Mandrills that has been used maybe a handful of times in the past year since it was constructed and the outdoor "lounge" that was intended for overnight camping, that probably wasn't even used a handful of times? 

My issue can clearly be seen by these points.  These Three Senior Chimps, should not be darted and moved to an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar people and integrated into established groups.  They should be allowed to live out their lives in a place they have called home for 45+ years.  It is not their fault no one of authority has made them a priority.  

*The San Francisco Zoo Director needs to take responsibility and provide them with a forever home that includes upgrading their current habitat, with the possibility of building a new one.  They should not be discarded, because they are older or inconvenient.  

*In agreement with the AZA guideline, they should bring in two younger females to expand the Group.

*Any plans to bring in more "new and shiny" Animals should be halted until upgrades are made. 

*The Zoo should have wanted to do this for years.  The Chimp exhibit is the first one you see after the Cafe.  It is a focal point and should look as such, as much as possible for the age of the enclosure. The fact that the Zoo can't even put a coat of paint on the building is a Disgrace.  Yet a few years ago they painted the Giants logo above the doors.  WTF?

*Under no circumstance should there be any plans to bring in a new species of Ape and build them a new home that could have been for the current Chimps.


  1. I believe that because of the age of these chimps and basically it's been their home for almost a half century, they need to stay. (due to their advanced age)... These chimps have always been together and waking up in a new place at their age would not be in their best interest. I totally do not think that the zoo should even entertain any type of thought of a new exhibit and new Ape. What a slap in the face to the chimps that have sat for 30 yrs in an exhibit that is run down like Alcatraz. Are people not understanding the high intelligence of chimps? Do people not care about the elderly? I think not in these days. The zoo runs exhibits to the ground just to come up with a "new" animal and then they have a cocktail party to raise money for the "new" animal. They should be asking donors for help with the existing exhibits. This is a great blog. I know that a lot of people will be reading it. I worry that too many will not write a comment even though it could be anon. So, in closing, LET THE CHIMPS STAY.... and fix their exhibit (which wouldn't take a lot), and let them enjoy eachother in their senior years.

    1. well said Andie. I can't say it any better.

  2. @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! ... You raise a good point. This would not be right for any Animal, but for Animals of this level of intelligence its unconscionable. If Apes could speak, Humans would really be introuble. I believe they are much wiser than we are. ... You are absolutely right! They should be asking Donors for help with old, instead of asking to build new. THAT twist in priority is the root of the problem here. ... Thank you for the blog kudos. It has generated alot of traffic! Hopefully members of the public will start being aware of more things, and questioning, as a Voice for the Animals. ... Yes, trend continues that even though there are thousands of views, not many comments. Comments are important to show interest, validation, and keep the information flowing. Hopefully at some point there will be a change and others outside the small group who have been continuous commenters, will take advantage of the Anonymous option.

  3. @Joanne - 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! ... Indeed! Many good points made by Andie.


*Thank you for your comment. All comments are appreciated and I try my best to reply back in a timely manner. Sometimes "timely" isn't possible, but I will reply to all comments at some point. Please check back.
*As with all posts, please expand comments for additional insight and information.
*Contact the San Francisco Zoo Director Tanya Peterson if you want your voice heard within the walls
*Thank You for taking the time to read about things that matter to me.