Plus, show me where anyone said the $25,000 for the consultants came out of our precious tax dollars. The way I understand it, the money the zoo receives from the City goes to "keep the lights on" (salaries, utilities, etc). Friends of the Zoo is a private entity and can spend their money however they wish. Again, I think we should be encouraged that they are trying to get to the bottom of the zoo's alleged issues.
Come on guys, you have to give the zoo a chance to work through whatever it is they have going on there. Solutions don't happen overnight. I personally think it is a good sign that they are taking all of this seriously and are trying to make improvements. It is not a bad thing at all to bring in people who have a lot of experience in other zoos to help our zoo get better.
HANKSFRIEND, you definitely seem passionate about your views concerning the zoo. Just curious, what do you want to see come out of all this? I'm no expert, but it seems like all this negative press is only going to hurt the zoo (and the animals) in the long run.
Keep in mind that the zoo was founded nearly 75 years ago by the City of Chattanooga. Funding the zoo isn’t anything new for this community. You certainly can’t pin it on Littlefield.
Based on information in the city audit and numbers published by the zoo, over 60% of the operational budget ($1.2 million) comes from the private sector. This also does not take into account the money that has been raised privately for capital improvements (about $10 million). Whether you like it or not, the zoo isn’t going anywhere when that kind of money is being thrown around.
I agree with jpo3136 that we need to stand behind the zoo in this time of controversy. Chattanooga has a lot to be proud of and the zoo is a big part of what makes our city great.
Here's what was reported in today's paper in another article:
Robin Derryberry, spokeswoman for the zoo and a board member of the Friends of the Zoo, the organization that oversees the zoo, insists the reports will be released.
"As soon as the zoo receives the final necropsy reports, copies will be sent to you," Derryberry said. "The zoo has not received the final reports, only initial information at this point. As promised, the media will receive the complete reports as soon as the zoo receives them."
Harbison said the UT vet school's turnaround time for final report necropsies is several weeks.
"Our target is four to six weeks to have a final report out," she said. "Of course, some take months."
The preliminary report on Hank the chimp, who was found dead early Monday morning, indicates the 42-year-old ape suffered heart trouble, according to a Tuesday interview with Long and Mickey Myers, a veterinarian and board member of the Friends of the Zoo.
Myers said the preliminary results from the necropsies of two marmosets showed a hepatitis virus carried by mice. Four other zoo animals have died in recent weeks.
That doesn't sound like a massive cover up to me. In fact, it appears that the zoo doesn't even have the final reports yet. I agree that things need to be transparent, but let's at least give them a chance to review the actual findings before we start condemning them for it.
In no way do I feel like the other 6 animals are less important than Hank. I just don't like how his death was leveraged in this situation.
I take offense to being called a "monkey hugger." We're just a normal family that likes to take our kids to the zoo. Simple as that.
All I'm saying is that this appears to be a one-sided story based on hearsay comments from people that don't work there. They certainly were not employed as recently as December 2010. How could they possibly know the exact circumstances of these recent deaths? Let's face it, zoos have living animals. Every animal at the zoo will die at some point. The timing of these recent deaths is purely a coincidence in my opinion.
To insinuate that the zoo is made up of a mean-spirited staff that knowingly and deliberately neglects its animals is completely absurd.
This whole situation has been very intriguing to watch over the last few days. I'll confess, we are members of the zoo and visit often. Given that, I just don't see how these alleged issues are accurate. If things were as bad as people are saying, I think we would have heard about this a long time ago. It's interesting to me how all of these former zoo employees are privy to such inside information. I'm just not buying it. We need some fact checking fast! Though I guess that wouldn't sell any newspapers, would it?
The sad thing is that Hank's memory is now tarnished by all this. It shouldn't have been this way.
I find it hard to believe that the City would just hand over the zoo to Friends of the Zoo without feeling confident that they could manage it. The zoo certainly wasn't much to brag about when the City did have full responsibility for it. Think back to what the zoo was like in the 80's. Things didn't really improve until Friends of the Zoo got involved.