Category Archives: Zoos

Duluth council OKs zoo transfer

Source: Associated Press, Jan 26 2009 9:35PM

The Duluth City Council has approved transferring management of the Lake Superior Zoo from the city to a nonprofit group. By a vote of 6-3, the council voted Monday night to turn over operation of the 85-year-old zoo to the Lake Superior Zoological Society. ….. Councilors who opposed it say it might violate the labor contract between the city and its largest labor union, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. The Lake Superior Zoological Society has said it will not retain the city zookeepers and instead will hire other employees at lower wages.

Related article from the News Tribune: Zoo transfer approved

Fate of Zoo in Council’s Hands

Source: By: Kim Johnson, WDIO (MN), 12/08/2008 10:45:17 PM

The fate of the Lake Superior Zoo is now in the hands of the Duluth City Council. Councilors have to decide by the end of the year whether to close the zoo or transfer power to a non-profit called the Lake Superior Zoological Society. Under Society management, the city claims Duluth could dedicate $338,200 in tax dollars to other uses. If the transition happens, 10 full-time staff will be moved to other positions within the city.

….. An AFSCME rep says the city is required to negotiate the transition “in good faith” with the union, which it claims is not happening. The city denies that is the case.

What’s new at the zoo? Possibly management

Source: Steve Kuchera, Duluth News Tribune (MN), Thursday, August 14, 2008

The continued survival of the Lake Superior Zoo may depend upon developing a suitable answer to what Lake Superior Zoological Society Executive Director Sam Maida says is a common question: “What’s new at the zoo?”

…….. It is a challenge thrown into sharp relief by Mayor Don Ness’ plan to turn the zoo over to the private, nonprofit zoological society by year’s end. It was one of a list of cuts and revenue-generating ideas Ness proposed in June to reduce the city’s budget deficit. The zoo posted a $617,368 loss last year.

……. The union, city and zoological society have been meeting to discuss the zoo’s future since Ness’s announcement. “Obviously we’re concerned about protection of the workers there,” said Alan Netland, president of AFSCME Local 66, which represents city employees at the zoo. “And we want both the city and the society to be realistic about what it takes to run an accredited zoo.

Did San Francisco give up too much control, let its zoo run wild?

Source: Wyatt Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle (CA), Tuesday, January 8, 2008

San Francisco leaders are considering changes to the 15-year-old agreement that turned over control of the city’s zoo to a nonprofit group, effectively relinquishing the city’s direct oversight of an institution that at the time faced the loss of its accreditation because of conditions that one report described as “literally disgraceful.”

Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the Recreation and Park Commission on Monday to hold a special public hearing into last month’s attack by one of the zoo’s tigers, which killed one visitor and injured two others. The hearing, Newsom said, would review the management agreement between the city and the San Francisco Zoological Society to “further investigate how this incident could have happened and how we can prevent future incidents.”

Deal saves Detroit Zoo

Source: Lisa M. Collins, The Detroit News (MI), March 2, 2006

Following a week of heated public debate over the future of the Detroit Zoo, the Detroit City Council on Wednesday approved a deal to hand over management of the 75-year-old facility to the Detroit Zoological Society — laying to rest public concerns that the zoo may close. Now the zoo must work to find other sources of funding to help pay for its $20 million a year average expenses. The zoo is one of Metro Detroit’s most popular attractions, with about 1 million visitors a year, including about 20 percent from Detroit and 25 percent from Oakland County. ….. Detroit will give the zoo $10 million in capital improvement dollars and spend $900,000 for security and insurance as part of the deal adopted Wednesday.