05/31 ~ GV Zoo hosts a Press Conference today at 12:30 pm PST
Greater Vancouver Zoo – PRESS RELEASE
Date: May 31st 2006
For Immediate Release
Greater Vancouver Zoo hosts a Press Conference today at 12:30 pm PST
Yesterday we were made aware verbally from a reporter of The Vancouver Sun that charges were being laid regarding cruelty to animals. As of today’s date at 12:15 pm neither our lawyers nor The Greater Vancouver Zoo have been served with any “charges”; and of course we will defend should any be laid. At this time we cannot comment on the charges laid until we receive them and then review the documents in detail.
What we will comment on today is the status of Hazina’s condition, her new enclosure, article in today’s Vancouver Sun and our relationship with the SPCA.
The Greater Vancouver Zoo is in the final stages of completing Hazina’s (our baby hippo) new home and is planning a celebration opening ceremony for June 24. The Greater Vancouver Zoo is committed and dedicated to ensuring that not only Hazina, but all animals of the Zoo are taken care of in the highest possible standards.
Our hippo is seen twice a week by our vet Dr. Burton and has complete confidence in our ability to care for our hippo. Dr. Burton commented today in our Press Conference that the temporary enclosure is not windowless, as claimed. Nor is Hazina left without adequate water to support her body. Dr. Burton can attest to the fact that she is thriving, not stressed and is well cared for. The Greater Vancouver Zoo has never hidden where Hazina is currently residing and if you were a regular visitor to the Zoo, you would see that Hazina has 3 windows in her temporary enclosure; as well as a large door that is open during the day. Hazina’s temporary enclosure is primarily concrete, but is fitted with rubber matting on the floor for her comfort.
We would like to make the public aware of the fact that we have been completely open with the temporary enclosure that Hazina is currently residing in. The Staff, Management and the Owner of the Zoo are all animal lovers, and have no desire for her to remain in her temporary enclosure any longer; but at the same time we want to ensure that her new facility is built in the proper way for a hippo to reside in.
The new enclosure for Hazina has definitely taken much longer to build than all of us had expected, but again we can’t emphasize enough that we have taken the extra time and care to provide the best facility for our hippo’s needs. The costs to date on building her new enclosure is in excess of $500,000. In addition to the actual enclosure, the Zoo had to install a new power source (for all the additional electrical needs of an indoor hippo enclosure), drill a well for all the needed water for her indoor pond (as all water on the Zoo property is well water) and build a service road with access to her facility for various reasons. It is our understanding that her complete hippo facility (both indoor and outdoor) will be the one of the largest of its kind in North America.
We read, with a measure of dismay, the article in today’s Vancouver Sun regarding alleged mistreatment of our hippo (Hazina). You will know that there is some pressure on Zoo’s worldwide from groups who feel vehemently that no animals should be kept in captivity. We respect those views. There are strongly held views on the other side as well. However, this is not a suitable forum for such a debate. Another aspect of the article in question which is disturbing (other than its factual errors), is that it leaves the reader with the distinct impression that our Zoo is a profit driven enterprise that mistreats and exploits the animals in their enclosures. Nothing could be further from the truth. Almost all of the gate receipts these past years from the Zoo poured back into improving our facility for the benefit of the animals in its trust and the public.
The SPCA fulfills an important function in our community and the Zoo has had a long term good relationship with them. We are transparent in our operations. Over the last several years we have even taken in several animals from the SPCA’s shelter into our care, such as a Reindeer, Common Marmosets and a Peacock. In addition we have provided our advice and expertise where needed on exotic animals. We would like to point out that we are quite open to suggestions for improvement from the SPCA and from the public at large. In the fact, in response to a recent suggestion by an SPCA official, we placed the rubber flooring in the temporary hippo enclosure.
Anyone who is concerned about the welfare of our animals should come in person and judge for themselves. In addition we are extending an invitation to all the public and media to attend our Opening Ceremony for Hazina our baby hippo on June 24, in her brand new enclosure.
Our Mission at the Greater Vancouver Zoo is dedicated to preserving and protecting endangered species, and creating an educational environment that inspires appreciation and concern about wildlife and wild places, while providing a pleasant recreational setting for our visitors.
Marketing & Promotions Manager
Phone: 604.856.6825 x 33
Animal Care Manager
Phone: 604.856.6825 x 32
To learn more about the good things we do at the Zoo visit us at: www.gvzoo.com or better yet come visit us in person.