A story in today’s San Francisco Chronicle says the San Francisco Supes supposedly want to turn the S.F. Zoo into a facility for rescued animals.
According to a report I heard on KCBS News radio about this story on my way into work this morning, the S.F. Supervisor measure would require that any future animal acquisitions at the zoo could only be rescued animals, such as animals confiscated by law enforcement from people who owned them illegally.
The KCBS report said zoo officials say turning the zoo into a rescue facility would cost them their accreditation in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and screw up their abilities to raise funds for the zoo.
As much as I totally agree that something desperately needs to be done to make the S.F. Zoo get its act together and improve the living conditions of the many animals in its care … this isn’t the way to do it.
If they lost the accreditation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, they would be getting rid of the very professional zoo association that is needed to monitor animal care at the zoo. WRONG! If they lose the presence of the AZA, then who would be providing the oversight of the animal care at the zoo? A supervisors subcommittee? I don’t think so!
Running an animal rescue facility of such an enormous size as the S.F. Zoo would be ENORMOUSLY EXPENSIVE. So who is going to pay for THAT?
What are they going to call it — the Zoo Pound?
I’m not sure there’s even anyone around who is experienced enough to manage such a large and complicated exotic animal rescue operation. I don’t think their present staffing could handle it adequately.
They need to come up with modern, state-of-the-art animal holding facilities for the zoo animals, a much better zoo management plan complete with on-going training for the staff, more refined and focused education programs, a more comprehensive and ongoing docent and volunteer program and someone who knows what the heck he/she is doing to run the place.
Believe me, that’s going to be expensive enough as it is.
Completely changing what the zoo is all about would be very nice, but the cost for that would be off the charts. And frankly, I don’t believe that would ever really happen. Just lots of supervisor committee meetings … planning, planning, planning … endless debate, debate, debate … and all the while the poor animals sit in those miserable outdated cages while their frustrated keepers do the best they can … which is never going to be good enough under the present conditions.
Something needs to be done with the zoo that is practical and achievable — NOW. Coming up with a pie-in-the-sky plan that can’t really be implemented isn’t going to solve anything. /Gary