Sequoia Park Zoo
|Location||Eureka, California, USA|
|Land area||5 acres (2.0 ha)|
|Number of animals||>250|
|Number of species||~75|
The Sequoia Park Zoo is a zoo located in Eureka, California, operated by the City of Eureka. The zoo is part of a larger park complex including 60-acre (24 ha) of mature second-growth coast redwood forest, Eureka's largest public playground, and a duck pond, in addition to meticulously kept formal and natural gardens. The gardens include many varieties of rhododendron bushes. The zoo's mission is "to inspire wonder, understanding and respect for the natural world by providing fun, rewarding, educational experiences that encourage meaningful connections between animals, humans, and our environment". The zoo is open to the public daily, except in winter when it is closed on Mondays. The zoo houses over 250 animals representing 75 different species on 7-acre (2.8 ha).
Sequoia Park Zoo was founded in 1907 and is the oldest zoo in California. Since then, the zoo has housed an array of animals including baboons, African lions, camels, chimpanzees, tigers, polar bears, bison and other large hoof-stock, exotic birds, and small mammals. The zoo achieved accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in 1995. Since accreditation the zoo has prioritized conservation, including Species Survival Plan breeding programs and education programs. After 100 years of free entry, the zoo started charging admission in the summer of 2008. The zoo is partially supported by a foundation which operates a gift shop, cafe and zoo facility for rentals in addition to fundraising and community outreach.
The zoo exhibits brown-headed spider monkeys and white-handed gibbons. The zoo used to exhibit chimpanzees, one of which lived for fifty-years at the zoo, dying at age 62. He was the oldest male chimpanzee ever recorded.[dead link]
The zoo's "Barnyard" is an educational exhibit that teaches about where food comes from and interact with domesticated animals including: goats, sheep, chickens, red junglefowl, rabbits, llamas, alpacas, donkeys, and a cat. Non-interactive exhibits include mice, opossums, a beehive and spiders. Birds in the walk-in free-flight aviary include the red-breasted sapsucker, scarlet ibis, European roller, green heron, Guira cuckoos, Nicobar pigeons, African grey parrot, California quail, and Golden pheasants.
Sequoia Park Zoo's educational building is named "Secrets of the Forest", which features the animals and organisms in the redwood forest. A number of insects, reptiles and amphibians species exhibited in the Secrets of the Forest building.
In 1982 Sequoia Park Zoo was home to a family of 4 black bears, two adults and their two offspring. The bears were exhibited in an old fashion metal bar exhibit. The local community raised money to build a modern bear exhibit. During the construction of the new exhibit, the two 3 month old bear cubs were sent to live at the Woodland Wildlife Park in Cave Junction, Oregon. The two adult bears were euthanized. Public reaction to the bears being euthanized was extremely negative with protestors quickly gathering and picketing in front of the zoo and a petition calling for the zoos closure gathers 5,000 signature in a few days in the local community of 24,000. The incident received national media coverage. The zoo's director was replaced soon after.
In 2010 the then Head Zookeeper and Veterinary Technician at the zoo Matt Christianson was fired for drug abuse and erratic behavior. He was in a relationship and living with colleague Amanda Auston who testified against Christianson in a City of Eureka internal investigation. Auston was given the job of Head Keeper upon Christianson's removal with just 2 years of zookeeping experience under her belt. Four other zookeepers, including two full time zoo employees with a combined total of 32 years of zoo experience, resigned after her promotion.
In 2012 the zoo faced steep criticism because of its budget. The zoo's budget had doubled in size since 2002 while other Departments within the City of Eureka had faced multimillion dollar budget cuts in the same period of time. Closure of the zoo was proposed by multiple local media sources and by prominent local politicians.
- "Sequoia Park Zoo". eureka.ca.gov. City of Eureka. Retrieved 10 January 2011.
- "List of Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". aza.org. AZA. Retrieved 10 January 2011.
- Sequoia Park Zoo The Mission of the Sequoia Park Zoo URL Retrieved on October 18, 2007
- Monkeys in the News Bill the Chimp Dies URL Retrieved on October 18, 2007
- The Eureka Reporter On a limb: Sculptor finalizes artistic tribute to Bill the chimp URL Retrieved on October 18, 2007
- Faber, Nancy. "Reporter". People. Retrieved 2014-07-07.
- Greenson, Thadeus. www.Times-Standard.com. Times Standard http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_14395992
|url=missing title (help). Retrieved 2014-07-07.