Call your zoo NOW!

Call your zoo NOW!

American zoos could help stop the Serengeti highway.
Call your zoo director now and tell him to “Support AZA’s resolution opposing the northern route for the Serengeti highway.”

Towards the end of this week, zoo directors, research coordinators and many other zoo employees will be heading to Houston for the annual zoo convention.

Concerned members are trying to get the momentum going to pass a resolution that will oppose the northern route currently staked out in the Serengeti for a highway. They are encountering great resistance among the membership.

This isn’t because there are members who support the highway, quite to the contrary. I doubt you would find a single AZA member who supports building the highway.

But it’s because the organization is so nebulous. The excuses I’ve heard range from “it’s not our responsibility” to “it will cause a backlash.” Both extremes are ridiculous if not arrogant and presume an unrealistic character of what AZA actually is.

Zoos, today, have morphed into wonderful institutions, so different from what they were when I was a kid. Many of my clients’ jaws drop when I say this, and I have to agree with them that watching a captive animal is not my cup of tea.

But putting animals on display, today, is becoming a secondary role for the best zoos. You would be very hard pressed not to find a zoo in America today, which doesn’t have something to do – some money invested – in the Serengeti.

Zoos are turning into wonderful research institutions. Their captive animal populations have become ever more precious as the world’s biodiversity crashes. They have unleashed a scientific potential that exists in their employees that is doing wonder in Africa.

So they, probably more than any other group of institutions, has a real and immediate interest in what happens in the Serengeti.

What is true is that their association isn’t a very good one. One part of their association, the SSP groups which manage marvelously the placement and movement of one captive animal with another across all zoo borders, is a work of genius. But, I’m afraid, that’s about it.

So it’s time they step up to the plate and make a concerted effort to evince their missions and their ideals. They must join a growing chorus of wildlife NGOs opposing the highway, and it will definitely help.

So please, call your zoo now. Ask to speak to the director, and you’ll likely be able to. If you can’t, get his email address after leaving a phone message.

We must stop this highway.

To read my other blogs about the highway, click below:

Tanzanian President reaffirms doing the project.

Tanzanian Minister of Tourism has questionable links to highway.

World Bank withdraws funding for Tanzanian road building.

Serengeti Highway Alert and summary.