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Re: “Oakland Zoo Operators Violate Election Laws

I have held jobs in the field of conservation, education, and sustainability for over 8 years, so I know that what the zoo is doing is scientifically sound in both conservation and from an educational standpoint. The Oakland Zoo is a nonprofit organization for the benefit of the, not a big corporate empire. I am so happy to be able to clear up misconceptions; it is always interesting to see how information gets skewed around election season.

I am very familiar with the California project because I spent the summer working on the education curricula for the new area in between going to shelters, libraries, and summer camps. At these places, I was teaching children about wildlife, ecosystems, and appropriate pet care. This project went through the democratic process and even when challenged, still won. The “office space” that you are referring to is actually an education center with classrooms. That building will be very important because our education building is so small that we have held classes in our lobby and auditorium when we do not space. This is not a theme park; it is an education facility. The new exhibit area is the zoo's way of addressing the issue of children growing up not knowing about their native wildlife, which is a growing problem with the increased human population and encroachment on lands in the Bay Area.

Measure A1 calls for an independent citizen oversight committee elected to carefully review how the zoo can use your tax money. A1 is for caring for animals, updating our current exhibits and night areas so they don't fall behind, to keep our on-site conservation programs, to expand our education programs and double the amount of free programs we can provide, and to keep the cost of admission low so that we can keep our doors open to a wider demographic.

We need zoos not only for education, but for actual conservation work. Without zoos, species like the California condor would be extinct. Zoos house animals for captive breeding programs, conduct research to ensure ways to sustain species, and donate their time and money to these programs. At the zoo, a portion of every single admission ticket goes directly toward conservation projects, in addition to other funding we give to conservation. Species like our native western pond turtles, of which we have released over 100 into the wild. I have worked on and taught at the creek running the zoo as part of one of our restoration projects.

Getting kids involved in conservation is not something that we can just decide to wait to do until the economy gets better. We are on the brink of our entire world changing, and we need to teach Bay Area kids about the importance of conservation now. The Oakland Zoo is one of the only places that can provide the unique platform of addressing local and global issues. YES on A1.

5 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Jen Jelincic on 10/26/2012 at 11:33 AM

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