Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Joint Zoo Committee Meeting - 9.24.15 - Chimpanzee Care - Damage Control?

Last Thursday was the Monthly Joint Zoo Committee Meeting.  Kathy Edwards, Assistant Curator of Primates, gave a Presentation on Chimpanzee Care.  Below is a screen-cap and link to the video I took of the Presentation.  Couldn't do both Video and Photos, so I apologize that all I have for key points are not so sharp screen-caps.  That said, the volume isn't great either.  

Kathy did a good job and I'm glad to have seen this, BUT considering last month's Meeting where I questioned Director Peterson on the decision to move forward with building a New Exhibit, for New Animals (Sifaka Lemurs) that we don't even have, before building the Upgrade/Expansion to the Chimps, I have to wonder if this just wasn't Damage Control.  

Director Peterson seems to not know the difference between "Care" and "Caring".  Before the News Story regarding the Chimps situation, Director Peterson sent out an email to Staff, trying her best to discredit the information I provided to KGO-TV ITEAM.  While at the time of airing, she knew that Members of her Staff were interviewed about her plan to move the Chimps, yet she seemed to lose all sight of that in her frantic email, which she says that I'm claiming the Zoo doesn't take "care" of the Chimps.  Which she clearly still thinks.  Obviously, the Chimps Senior ages show that they have received excellent Medical Care during the four plus decades they have lived at the Zoo.  Their Keepers tend to their needs the best they can within the restrictions Management dictates.  Their home, has been neglected and they have been disregarded as a Priority for over twenty years.  Their Environment shows a lack of Caring.  These are the facts.

So, putting forth a presentation like this, does make me think, she is trying to present the Chimps situation as being taken care of, when in actuality, their main, non-medical need is not being taken care of.  That need is for the Upgrade that was Promised at the March Meeting, to commence construction immediately.  Not After construction takes place for Animals not even part of the current collection.

Fact still remains.  If this Chimp Group goes down in number, the remaining two are still vulnerable to being sent away.  Otherwise, the Zoo may lose accreditation by keeping them.  And, the worst scenario would be, that the number again went down, and one was left alone.  Director Peterson knows this and still goes on with her personal agenda to keep bringing in New Animals and building New Exhibits.  This is wrong.

Sadly not one Member of the Joint Zoo Committee or Zoological Society Board seem to question anything Director Peterson does.  They don't care either.  We really have a disturbing structure as to how the Zoo is run.


The above diagram, is not only unclear visually, but unclear to me, in reference to the other photos I've seen.  I hope to be able to get a better copy of this.  I posted it, incase anyone is viewing on a larger screen, maybe it will come across better.  ... At one point, and I think it was later in the presentation, there was a mention of things in progress.  One I couldn't hear, the other was a new climbing structure for the off exhibit (South) Grotto.  Gotta say, unless this structure is a fabricated Tree, I'm disappointed in this.  They already have two climbing structures, and are more in need of surface area.  A Tree would only take space at the base, leaving more room for running, lounging, playing, ect.  I have ideas to put forth, that include video and photos.  I'll detail in another post. 

While describing this, it was mentioned, "Chimps and a pair of Orangutans".  This was new information.  It now sounds like Director Peterson is actively seeking to bring Orangutans in.  I think the path foremost in her mind is to acquire Orangutans, not doing what's best for the Chimps. It goes with my gut feeling that she has no intention of making good on her Promise to the Chimps, but wait it out, so she never has to expand this Group.  It is alleged that Chimpanzees are not part of the future Zoo plan under her Direction.  I'm hoping those Chimps are at the Zoo longer than she is.

Like the other photos, this list of Enrichment Items isn't sharp.  It seemed to list mostly, if not all food items.  There are different kinds of Enrichment and as someone who used to visit almost daily, the Chimps have lacked varied options in  enriching food presentation and toys for years.  Sometimes I go by and there is nothing on exhibit for them. They should have stuff to stimulate them through out the whole day.  I don't like seeing them just sit there bored all the time.  Sure stuff might be happening in their night quarters, but if they were getting toys/ect. I'm sure we'd see photos of it, because the Zoo likes to applaud themselves.  So, my guess is not much is going on. 

Thankfully they did get the new Mirror /Feeder, which was mentioned.  They haven't had anything new in  twenty plus years, except an added/reconfigured fire hose thing.   The Mirror and another rope swing are new.  I would bet if their situation hadn't gone public, they would never have gotten anything.  Oh snap!  I'm right, because they wouldn't even be there! 

Speaking of not being there.  Another thing that was mentioned was in regard to Training, is its success because of the Relationships between the Chimps and their Keepers.  All I have to say about that is, Director Peterson, your plan to move them, would have taken away these Relationships and put them into unfamiliar situations.  Shame on You and double Shame for choosing to Give to New, before giving to the Old.

If anything you read moves you,
Please contact the SFZoo Director
Tanya Peterson


  1. The diagram is a concept plan of the "off exhibit yard" seen in your previous images. The left side of the plan shows the current chimpanzee building and south grotto (the semicircle). The right side is the Pachyderm Building and new holding areas to be built. Overall, the diagram plots out how the construction of the trail-way will connect to the old chimpanzee building and grottoes to the new exhibit adjacent to the Pachyderm Building.

  2. @Anonymous - Thank you for your comment! Your description clears it up for me. It is a bit different than the other two diagrams, and I think only having partials may have thrown me off. ... I was clear how the trail connected, so maybe I was also looking to get more out of it. ... Please continue to post any other insight you may have.


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