Citizens Lobbying for Animals in Zoos

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Citizens Lobbying for Animals in Zoos (CLAZ) is community based organization lobbying to improve conditions for the animals in San Francisco Zoo.

The organization to started in Sacramento, California in 1996 by 12 year old Justin Barker. Barker started the organization to advocate for animals in the Sacramento Zoo. He worked with zoo keepers, union officials and animal experts to push for better conditions and management at the zoo.

Barker organized coalitions with Animal Protection Institute and The Council for Excellence in Zoo Animal Management to successfully bring media attention to the substandard conditions at the zoo.[1]

After pressuring the Association of Zoos and Aquariums The Sacramento Zoo’s accreditation was suspended for poor management and inadequate enclosures. CLAZ recommendation to close the polar bear and cheetah exhibits took place 4 years later.

Roseville Bear Relocation Project[edit]

In 1996, CLAZ made international headlines with a new campaign. The Roseville Bear Relocation Project mobilized thousands of individuals and government officials to close the aging Roseville Royer Park Zoo. After raising over $250,000 through the Roseville Bear Relocation Fund the zoo was closed and its last remaining residents, two 20 year old Black Bears who were born at UC Davis and had lived 21 years at Royer Park, were successfully relocated to Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary.

In 2008, CLAZ was relaunched to advocate for the welfare of animals at the San Francisco Zoo and offer the public easily accessible information and insight into the zoos practices.

The organization has already begun building coalitions with citizens, zoo insiders and animal experts to ensure city officials respond the zoo’s managements problems and ultimately create a zoo that is focused on animal welfare.

Justin Barker, 26, is the organizations director and a San Francisco resident. Through his work with CLAZ, connections with animal experts and experience as an enrichment keeper at Zoo Ave in Costa Rica, Barker has in depth knowledge about the needs of animals in zoos