Monday, January 07, 2008

City Zoo

The city zoo is managed by a nonprofit organization and is a model for how we would hope to see the Parkway someday managed, and though being a nonprofit does help considerably in raising necessary funds, there is still a need for local government funding.

Bid for giraffe barn faces tall problem
The city, funding other projects, runs short of cash for new pen
By Terri Hardy -
Published 12:00 am PST Monday, January 7, 2008

Last week, as the first of a series of storms reached Northern California, rain began to pelt the dirt play yard occupied by the Sacramento Zoo's three giraffes, Val, Goody and Skye. Before it became dangerously slippery, the spindly legged animals would be led back to their not-so-venerable barn, a 50-year-old rotting structure plagued by rats.

Even absent severe weather conditions, winter presents a stressful challenge for the zoo's towering trio. Space heaters in the rafters offer little resistance against wind blasting through gaps in the wood siding. The animals don't do well in cold conditions and dislike being shut in the small structure, said Lindsey Moseanko, their keeper of 15 years.

"It's a dark, cold box," Moseanko said. "They deserve better."

A new barn is the zoo's top priority, said director Mary Healy. The zoo has moved forward with initial planning and has raised $350,000 for the new exhibit space, which would include a warm barn more than twice the size of their current home.

But in December, zoo officials were surprised to learn that the $1.5 million they hoped would be available soon from the city to fund the remainder of the project wouldn't be forthcoming.

Bond funds that could have gone to the barn have been used on unexpected costs for projects given higher priority by the City Council, including the Crocker Art Museum expansion, the Valley Hi-North Laguna Library and the George Sim Community Center in the Lemon Hill area, city budget officials said.

"Now, we're basically hoping for a miracle," said Terry Kastanis, president of the Sacramento Zoological Society, the nonprofit that manages the city-owned zoo. "We're hoping that the City Council gives this another look."