From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1995:
Alleged embezzling rocked two leading animal exhibition insti-
tutions during the summer. The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association is
officially mum about the discovery that $72,000 of the $7.5 million it
received last year from concession sales is missing. The discrepancy was
discovered in early June, but has not been reported to police, as the associa-
tion apparently hopes to resolve the case internally. In a similar but unrelat-
ed case, the International Marine Animal Trainers Association recently
found $60,000 missing; did not press charges against the former IMATA
treasurer, who acknowledged responsibility; and has informed membership
that it has received partial restitution. IMATA pledged it would not reveal
the identity of the individual in question, whose identity is nonetheless
known to ANIMAL PEOPLE. She no longer works in the animal field.
As the Missouri River rose in the Dakotas in June, a patron
donated use of a private jet to Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago) and Milwaukee
County Zoo staffers, who collected 30 piping plover eggs then and 114
more later, along with 116 eggs from least terns. Both the plovers and the
terns are endangered, and the riverbank nesting sites of both were wiped
out. Ninety-one plovers and 67 terns hatched, the first of their species to be
successfully artificially incubated. Captive breeding may be the birds’ best
hope of survival, as they’ve lost about 80% of their habitat since 1950, and
are quite vulnerable to predation and bad weather in the remaining habitat.
Toxoplasmosis killed both polar bears at the Alaska Zoo in
Anchorage during the third week of July––first Nuka, the female, and then
Binky, the male, who mauled two intruders last year in separate incidents,
after they climbed into his space.
Ivan, the 32-year-old gorilla who spent the past 28 years alone at
a Tacoma shopping mall, rough-housed with female gorillas for the first
time on June 27, eight months after transfer to Zoo Atlanta.
The Bronx Zoo on July 13 put on display the first offspring of
the former Cleveland Metroparks Zoo silverback gorilla, Timmy––twin
males, born on August 8, 1994. The young gorillas, along with three oth-
ers born last year, are now being introduced to a group of older gorillas.
Two new zoos are under development in Florida. Disney’s
Wild Animal Kingdom is to open in 1998 at Disney World, near the Magic
Kingdom, EPCOT Center, and Disney/MGM Studios, just outside
Orlando. At 500 acres, it will be nearly twice the size of the Bronx Zoo and
five times the size of the adjacent Magic Kingdom. The estimated cost of
the zoo is $760 million. Exhibits will focus on living endangered species,
extinct species, and mythical species. Naturalist Jim Fowler, of the Wild
K i n g d o m TV series, meanwhile is figurehead for a 400-to-500-acre
“wildlife wilderness park” to be built at the Seminole Tribe’s planned 1,500-
acre Sweetwater Family Resort, near Tallahassee. Featured will be 50 to 60
native North American species. According to Fowler, the wilderness park
will “cage” visitors in trams and indoor walkways, while letting the animals
roam relatively freely. “The worst kind of viewing,” he says, “is looking
through a chain link fence.”
The San Diego Zoo in July received 15 rare Calamian deer
from a Philippine wildlife preserve set up by the late dictator Ferdinand
Marcos, but heavily poached since his 1986 ouster.
The Moscow Zoo has introduced a $125 fine for feeding the
animals, equal to 10 months pay at the Russian minimum wage, and 10
times the fine for trying to climb into a cage. Visitors are encouraged to
feed the animals at other zoos in the impoverished former Soviet Union,
where the admission price is sometimes accepted in edibles and food dona-
tions may be all the food the animals get.
On July 24 the Moscow Zoo allowed three young scientists to
spend a day on exhibit in the primate house to protest conditions for scien-
tists in Russia, who earn less than the average wage and are often paid late.
An orangutan in the next cage sat close to the trio, as if trying to join them.
Moscow zookeepers arrived at work on June 13 to find a healthy
newborn baby elephant. No one had known the mother was pregnant.
The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare’s 1995 Zoo
Animal Welfare Award went to the new Sumatran orangutan habitat at the
Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, while the Colchester Zoo received the
1995 Zoo Animal Welfare Innovation Award for using discarded Christmas
trees to enrich the cages of numerous species.
In the first case of its kind in China, a 10-year-old boy who was
bitten on the ankle after squeezing through wide bars into a panda cage at
the Huzhou People’s Park Zoo with a group of other children has sued the
city of Huzhou, seeking $11,900 in damages.
The California Board of Equalization ruled June 29 that
Marianne and Alexander Tilds of Quality Fresh Produce, in San Francisco,
do not owe $44,000 in back sales taxes on produce sold to the San Francisco
Zoo during the past 20 years. State auditors had tried since 1992 to retroac-
tively tax the sales, arguing that the produce was not exempt from taxation
as either food for human consumption or livestock feed.”