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