Friday, February 27, 2015

Zoo Director's Statement - Editorial Comment

Its just not in my nature to not have an editorial comment.  That said, it in no way takes away from the fact that I am beyond happy about this outcome and whatever way this Victory for Our Precious Chimps came about, I Thank Director Peterson for doing the right thing.

Foremost, while there would never be any acknowledgement on the part of Director Peterson for the influence of public outcry, I believe 100%, anyone who played a part in this, from me calling attention to the situation, Dan Noyes bringing it to the public, to everyone who wrote a letter, signed the Petition, in whatever way any member of the public participated in this crusade, we are the ones responsible for these Precious Friends not losing their home.  We did this!  Be proud!  And continue to be a voice.  This started because I was one person with a computer and a passion to be a voice for the Animals.

I do believe that the words of Director Peterson's Statement (see previous post) are a well designed PR statement, while giving the background information that should have been available before the air of secrecy set in and the situation had to be pieced together.

I 100% believe in the chain of events as they happened.  That and facts speak.  The simple facts are, while Director Peterson alludes in this statement as well as other personal correspondence that she had no plans to move the Chimps, last week I was on the grounds as they were building the transfer cages.
Spelling that out:  If no plan in place, why were cages being built?   

Director Peterson kept her plans to move the Chimps away from not only the public, but apparently Zoological Board Members, Joint Zoo Committee Members, and other City associated officials were not aware.  That said, on the flip-side, apparently her "plans"" not to move them were also kept secret. Its my opinion until the public outcry, those Chimps were set to move.  I'm just thankful they had no idea what was happening and they never had to step foot in those cages.

Some snips from the Statement:

> "We also asked architects to design conceptual plans for a new home for the chimpanzees here at our Zoo. With today's rising construction costs,"<

If this design was requested in 2013 as stated after the passing of Tallulah (our fourth Chimp), and she veto'd it for cost reasons, ...

*Why has there been money spent to build so many new things (exhibits, party places, sculpture garden)?  If she was committed to doing something for the Chimps, "new" should have been halted and those monies banked for this project.  At the very least painting their home and taking down a rusted structure.

*Why was the 2014 ZooFest Fundraiser not dedicated to raising funds for this project?

>"... after visiting alternative facilities and speaking to several experts, I have concluded it is best for our chimpanzees to remain together here in San Francisco.  This is not a slight on any other institution but arises out of a real concern about the stress on Cobby of moving, and adapting, to another chimpanzee group where other males are present."<

I'm just going to post this as one of the points that nudged me.

>" Thus, with the support of our amazing Board of Directors, we will continue to augment and adapt the current home of our chimpanzees as they age gracefully."<

I don't mean to be snarky, but the use of the word continue alludes that there has been augmentations/adaptions in the past.  I don't consider the 1980s last upgrade to be relevant.  What I do hope, is that there will be some immediate alterations to the exhibit, even before the major ones detailed in the Meeting presentation "break ground".  I will do a post titled What I'd Like to See ...

>" In order to build a new home for them, we will need to pull together as a community to raise the funds which this decision will require."<

I was surprised by this, but fine with it.  I had already started writing up and researching fundraising sites, in case members of the public who signed the Petition were interested.  As well, I have some other ideas.  I plan a post about this subject.  we aren't going to raise millions but I have some ideas of what we can do.

So, aside from those bits that caught my attention, I can not be more happy with this outcome.  Again I Thank Director Peterson for making the right decision for Cobby, Maggie and Minnie.  Even though I don't want the public to lose sight of the way this played out, those Friends are whats important here.  This Victory is about them.  

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