Friday, April 24, 2015

Happy Birthday to Our Precious Chimp Girls Maggie and Minnie!!

Tomorrow, April 25th, marks these Lovely Ladies Birthday's!! 

 Happy 46th Birthday Minnie!

Happy 46th Birthday Maggie!

Both these sweeties were born in 1969 and came to the Zoo before their first birthday in 1970.  After being taken from their Mothers in the wild, they became part of the Exotic Pet Trade and sold to the Zoo.  April 25th is probably the date they arrived at the San Francisco Zoo and therefore became the date listed as their Birthday.

I am careful not to use the word "celebrate", as until the day passes, it is unclear whether or not, these Girls will be given anything special to celebrate their day.  Most SFZoo Friends Birthdays sadly go unrecognized.

How about it San Francisco Zoo, Will you give the Chimp Family some Special Birthday Enrichment to Recognize and Celebrate these Ladies 46th Birthday?

ZooFest Tonight! Will the Chimps get Some Love From Donors?

Tonight is the San Francisco's Zoo big annual fundraising Event, ZooFest.   ... Tents are up, Swank will be on, BUT will the Chimps Needs be Highlighted?   THAT is the question on my mind today.

Over the past seven years since I've been more involved in the Zoo, I have watched as each ZooFest came and gone and not one Event Theme has highlighted a campaign to give the Chimpanzee's a better living situation.   

When the Chimp's situation came to light, now two months ago, it was reported by Media, via information in this blog, that the Zoo had recently spent over a Million Dollars on a new play structure for Humans.  Where did that money come from?   Why is there always money for the NEW things that the Zoo wants to do, either bringing in new Animals or non-Animal projects, but seemingly not for the Animals that already live at the Zoo who are in need?  

The Chimps have waited for two decades.  So, now that a commitment to them has finally been made, the question has been posed by the Zoo Director herself, where is the money going to come from.?Director Tanya Peterson posed the question at the February Joint Zoo Committee Meeting when she announced after pressure via Media expose' and Public Outcry, that the Three Senior Chimpanzee's would be staying, living out their lives at the only home they have known, the San Francisco Zoo. The question then was, where will the money come from to keep them and satisfy the AZA and SSP guidelines they must follow in order to do so.  

I was surprised (and overjoyed) when Director Peterson noted that the current Chimp home would also get upgrades, pending a new exhibit.  Funding for a New Exhibit, estimated at 10 Million Dollars, would have the Zoo taking on the "largest fundraising" campaign they ever have, as well reaching out to Members of the Public.  

So, far the only thing the Zoo has done is make a Chimp donation page, that they have promoted on their Facebook Page once.  I emailed Director Peterson with several other fundraising ideas, none of which I got any feedback on.  What I have heard from her on several occasions via interviews and at Meetings (again at last night's), is how Donors have certain Animals they will fund for.  Is that code for, she can't get funds for the Chimps?

In my opinion it is the Primary job of the Zoo Director to do what is in the best interest of the Animals living at the Zoo.  Without being a fly on the wall at any ZooFest Event from 2008- to 2014, I can pretty much guarantee that at no time were the Needs of the Chimpanzee's talked about.  Doing anything for the Chimps has not been on the agenda for many years, so its a sure bet.  If I am right, shame on Director Peterson for championing for other projects, AND if they were and Donor's did not want to help, shame on them.  What kind of Animal supporters with funds would turn their backs on Animals in need?

So, tonight.  ZooFest 2015.  Post Media coverage of the Chimp situation.  Not one person who will be at ZooFest does not know that the Chimps are in Need.  Will they donate?  Will Director Peterson Plead their case?   

Will we hear that ZooFest 2015 was a success for the San Francisco Zoo Chimpanzees?

As always, if you are inclined 
to be a Voice for the Chimps
you can not only post a comment 
to this blog at any time, but
you can contact SFZOO 
Director Tanya Peterson

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Upgrade Update - Joint Zoo Meeting 3.26.15

I know and I'm sorry!

I am seriously behind on getting posts done in a timely manner.  I sound like a broken record, but I always feel like I should start by apologizing.

THIS post should have been done weeks ago.   I launched this crusade for Our Chimps, and need to be keeping Members of the Public updated.  It is You who Helped with public outcry, to make it possible for Our Chimps to Stay in their Home.  Just know that even if I slack posting, I am not slacking keeping my eye on what is going on with Our Chimps.  

Since I haven't updated, I will note here that, after the painting of the structure in Grotto 2 (my last post), there has not been anything noticeable done any further to the current exhibit.  The night quarter building still has not been painted. There are no additional signs or visual barriers to aid in deterring the upset to the Chimps (primarily Cobby) by Visitors, as I suggested to Director Peterson both via email and in person.  I will write a follow-up post to this subject.

I didn't post immediately following the Meeting, because I was waiting to get a copy of the Upgrade Plan graphic from the Zoo.  The graphic was used in a Power Point type presentation, and I knew it would not be clear in the video.   After the Meeting I asked Director Peterson for a copy, which was left for me the following week.  Thank you to Director Peterson and Tim Wu, from Development for providing the photo credited below.

So, literally on the eve of the next Meeting (4.23.15), I will update from the last Meeting (3.26.15).  I had planned to stand up at the Meeting and ask for an Update, if one was not presented.  Thankfully it was included in Director Peterson's presentation.  Here's is a clip, although it is not very good or complete.  I wasn't close enough and I ran out of card memory.  That said, I just tried to listen to the audio and its pretty useless but I posted it anyway.

photo courtesy of  SFZoo

When I was watching the presentation, I thought I got it, but then getting to look at the photo closer, I think its a bit confusing and I know the layout.  But, I will try to make as much sense of it for you that I can.

I thought I would have the video to refer to, but its not helpful.  The synopsis of what was said in relation to this graphic was an over all of the plan, using the Sky Trails mentioned at the Meeting in February, with the addition of the route they would take into the Pachyderm Building.  As I understand it, the area inside would be the portion of the building that runs along the path at the back side of the Chimps, that previously housed the Black Swans.

It sounded like this was a stage one, using the Million Dollar donation.  It also sounded like it would be an immediate start.  Nothing has happened to date.

After the Meeting, I took a closer look at this Graphic that was on an easel.

When I approached Director Peterson to request the Presentation Graphic, I also asked her about this one. She explained the plans as they pertained to the Sky Trails that would be the initial part of the Upgrade and would lead into an unused area of the Pachyderm Building, which as i see it now with photos side by side, is essentially thee same thing from the presentation.  I highlighted on the right hand side of the second photo the area of the Building.   This is a different angle than the presentation photo, so I have highlighted the Pachyderm Building area in both, for easier reference.

Director Peterson noted that one portion of this plan would be completed for the Chimps, using the Million that was donated.  This graphic really seems to be a long term plan for that whole Primate/Ape area.  Lemur (Sifaka) and Orangutans noted, both which would be a new acquisitions. 

I asked whether these upgrades were enough to satisfy the AZA/SSP for the Chimps being able to stay, even if the money never comes through for the New Exhibit.  She answered Yes.  ... Upon further questioning, I was told, with another Million, more of the Sky Trails in this plan would be built.  With 10 Million, the new Exhibit would be built.  Personally I think that doing the Million Dollar phase one, including the barrier suggestions I made, would be enough, and any other donations, especially another Million plus, should be saved towards the New Exhibit.   A New Exhibit would secure the long term commitment that was made to the Chimps at the Meeting February 26, 2015. 

I also questioned if the New Exhibit wasn't built before the numbers went down.   Director Peterson said,  "The Girls could still be moved."  < That is not acceptable to me.  AND it is not part of the original "Stay" commitment she made.   For one, she is assuming that the girls would both outlive our male.  I feel uncomfortable talking about this, but I want what her plan is to be very clearly documented.

She did also bring up possibly looking at Rescue options, to add to the group.  She mentioned research Chimps, and I reiterated what I had written in a blog post, suggesting/noting the Chimps still living at UCSF.

Still, this all said, I did not leave the conversation feeling confident that down the road, all three of Our Chimps will be living out their lives at the San Francisco Zoo.   I certainly hope they do and that Director Peterson follows through with the commitment she made to them.