Early this Morning I sent an email to the Zoo Director Tanya Peterson. Its been noted in my blogs many times that we are not fans of each other, so I'm not sure it will even be read. That said, I did note to her, that this is not about her or I, but about the Chimps, requesting that she view my suggestions as I think they will be beneficial to the Chimps.
Below is the main body of the email. If there is anything you want to support or add, please take the time to email Director Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you.
Director Peterson's presentation at last Thursdays' Joint Zoo Committee Meeting, noted that the Zoo would add Sky Trails to the current enclosure, as it was 'a cost efficient way to bring in additional space for them. She then noted that the design for the new exhibit has a price tag of 10 million, which would need to put forth the largest fundraising campaign the Zoo has even done.' I also read a news article that stated the dollar amount the Zoo committed to for upgrades would be $250,000. My suggestions reflect this information.
> ,,, let me relay some suggestions about ground level work. There are several things that I think need to be done more immediate than the Sky Trails, even though I hope to see a start to it all very soon.
*Signage in regards to the Stress the Public are causing Cobby on a daily basis.
*Tree lined barrier to block Chimps direct visual line of the Public
*Examine the inside condition of Twigging box that appears to be rusty on the outside.
*Removal of the rusty structure in grotto 2
*Paint their house.
Additionally adding a man-made foraging mound, much like what is in the Anteaters exhibit would be wonderful. As well, an attempt at filling in the moat area that connects grotto 2 and 3 and building a "bridge" that would allow these two grottos to become one large surface area.
The situation with Cobby being upset is out of control. My suggestions of signage would include, "In an effort to keep our Senior Chimps stress free, please do not call out, gesture or laugh at them" . Also posting a photo which I can provide of Cobby furred up and in sway motion, noting this is stressful behavior, would be ideal. As well the use of Docents there, especially, but not limited to Weekend/Free Days, would be helpful. Docents roam aimlessly, giving them a much needed position point would be the best use of their time.
The tree lined barrier addition as well is to reduce stress. Much like what has been done at Snow Leopards, a tree lined barrier in which the Public can see the Chimps through the trees and of course without obstacle when they are on the grotto 1 structure. This makes for a veiled view from the Chimps side, while still allowing the public to view them. I think this would help greatly. I thought of this a couple weeks ago, then while talking to John Alcaraz, the Chimps first Keeper and longtime Zoo Staffer, he brought it up as an idea as well. I have read in the AZA Chimpanzee Manual, "..Visual barriers are important to block constant visual access to and from the public.." So, this is something that should be implemented.
Another addition would be a heated element. A member of the public suggested heat lamps much like at lemurs, but I'm not sure with their size and smarts that would work. A heat rock like at Big Cats would. I have researched it and it has been done for Chimps in other Zoos.
I know you have designated $250k to the upgrade and so I don't want to add in other stuff, so the suggestions I'm making are well thought as necessary.
I have had members of the public ask me how they can help the Chimps, in regard to donating.
When I first started this crusade I thought to start a crowdfunding type effort, but I realize that I don't think I want to manage other peoples money that way.
I have several ideas for fundraising from your end and one that would be helpful to those I know who want to donate.
The Zoo might want to consider expanding their Adopt an Animal Program to Chimps. Pre-order so you get those who have the Chimps on their minds right now. Possibly adding things like a bow-tie, two different color flowers, to the Stuffies to allow for people to Adopt one or all of our Chimps, making the donation even greater for the
Also, getting the Chimps to do some paint projects which can be used in different ways. Auction the original, but take high quality photos of all the work to produce other items. Note Cards, Shirts, Calendars, Mugs, ect.
This idea would be something the Primate Staff would need to work on. I have seen this from other facilities (SFZoo started one in 2013 but its never been updated or promoted). Via Amazon.com , items can be chosen and added to a Wish List. Members of the public then purchase the specific items and they are sent to the Zoo via the retailer. My idea is to create a list that is Specific to what the Chimps will need as far as Enrichment/Entertainment while they are inside during construction. It should be a range of prices for all to be able to donate. From Paint supplies, to DVDs, to other toys, puzzles, even higher end like a Tablet. This is a great idea and should be put into motion. <
Hoping Director Peterson will implement some of these suggestions.
Hoping the Zoo has set a plan in motion to start working on the Chimps current home. Its been thirty years and is long over due!