San Francisco Zoological Society Position Statement
Supervisor Daly's Legislation to Change the Mission of the San Francisco Zoo
SUPPORT YOUR ZOO
On June 10, 2008, Supervisor Chris Daly, in conjunction with representatives from In Defense of Animals and the City of San Francisco’s Animal Control and Welfare Commission, put forth a legislative ordinance that would transform the San Francisco Zoo into an “animal rescue facility”. Among other things, the San Francisco Zoo would be limited to only accepting animals that have been rescued from roadside zoos, are not part of global conservation efforts, and are medically and behaviorally challenged. The San Francisco Zoological Society finds the “rescue zoo” concept to be extremely narrow in scope and counter-productive to the Zoo’s mission. The Board of Directors and Staff does not support the legislation.
The San Francisco Zoo is already a rescue zoo, both in its commitment to accepting rescue animals whenever appropriate and in its participation in global species survival conservation programs. We are home to more than 100 rescued animals. The largest are the grizzly sisters Kachina and Kiona, who were saved from euthanasia, to the saw whet owl, who is the size of a tennis ball with wings, one broken when it was hit by a ski vehicle. Rather than being euthanized the owl and all of our rescued animals are ambassadors for their species to help tell the story about the importance of respecting wild animals and habitat.
Aside from our rescue animal programs that focus on individual species, the Zoo also must continue to be involved in broader, global conservation programs. This is done through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) which is America's leading accrediting organization for zoos and aquariums and accredits only those institutions that have achieved rigorous standards for animal care, education, wildlife conservation and science. The Zoological Society is proud to be among the more than 200 accredited zoos in North America.
AZA has made it very clear that Supervisor Daly’s legislation will strip the Zoo of its accreditation. This loss will immediately impact the Zoo’s 66 conservation programs, which are managed through AZA’s worldwide partnerships. Some of the conservation programs that have brought accolades to the Zoo and the City of San Francisco include:
● The San Francisco garter snake recovery program. This program educates people that live near the snake’s habitat to appreciate and protect the species. Some of the snakes not involved in the breeding program have visited more than 6,000 children in San Francisco and San Mateo County as part of the ZooMobile Outreach Program.
● The California Bald Eagle recovery program. A record-breaking 103 eagle chicks were
hatched and released into the wild on Santa Catalina and Santa Cruz Islands.
● Fourteen black rhinoceros calves – a species on the brink of extinction – were born at the San Francisco Zoo. Along with 36 other zoos and the International Rhino Foundation, the San Francisco Zoo played an integral role in the reintroduction of black rhinos in Botswana.
Passing this legislation will also severely impact the Zoo’s award-wining education programs designed and developed to support the Zoo’s conservation mission. These programs reach more than 24,000 San Francisco school children each year and another 125,000 children and adults throughout the Bay Area.
If this legislation passes, it will take the Zoo backward, not forward.. The San Francisco Zoo is a valuable, historic jewel and an affordable asset to the city, people, families and schools of the Bay Area. While the Zoo’s animal rescue efforts will continue, the Zoological Society will not abandon its core mission.
WE NEED YOUR HELP. For more information and to find out how you can support the San Francisco Zoo please visit here. (http://www.sfzoo.org/rescuelegislation)