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Any help would be appreciated!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by bailey62, 20 Dec 2016.

  1. bailey62

    bailey62 New Member

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    Hello, I just found out about this cite and I hope it will be of help to me. I want to own a zoo and I know how much work that will be. I am looking for people to help answer my questions and give me tips, to start me off on the right path. I want to get this right and fulfill my dream. I am still young and naive about the business and zoo world but that just means I have lots of time to improve. So if you would like to help me please contact me! Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.
     
  2. pachyderm pro

    pachyderm pro Well-Known Member

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    I relate to you so much. I'm not a zoo genius or anything but I will try to help you to the best of my abilities. You might want to decide where you are going to open it before anything. Sense different budgets run across different states. Not to mention exhibit planning, You cant really have a polar bear tundra in Texas or a outdoor rainforest in Wisconsin. That's the only real peace of advice I can give you. Maybe ask one of the staff for help such as jbnbsn99 or zooboy28 as they have more experience then me. If you need any help regarding zoochat feel free to ask me.:):):)
     
  3. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    The first step is to get experience by volunteering or working at a zoo (if you have not done so already). There are also two community colleges that have their own on-site mini zoo with a program in zoo keeping. These are Moorpark College in southern California and Santa Fe College in northern Florida.

    If you like big cats, I would recommend joining the Feline Conservation Federation. They promote captive breeding through smaller zoos and private breeders and will not only tell you where to get cats but will also tell you exactly what the regulations are in your state. There may be similar organizations for other groups of animals, but I am a cat fanatic so that is the one I know about.
     
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  4. DragonDust101

    DragonDust101 Well-Known Member

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    In this we share a deam. I can't give you any real proffesional experience tips, but I can tell you a couple things you'll define try need

    Experience working at a zoo, whether as a volunteer or a keeper.

    Experience with animal husbandry (Reptiles, Amphibians, or Exotic Mammals)

    Experience in landscape architecture to Co sturdy your enclosures

    A reliable place to acquire animals

    100,000 dollars or ore budget, depending on the size of the zoo u want
     
  5. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    As a bare minimum, any zoo in the USA that is open to the public must be licensed by the USDA.
     
  6. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    Add a 0 or two to that figure. $100,000 won't even begin to cover a zoo's basic annual needs, let alone construction.
     
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  7. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    Here is a post of mine from earlier in the year where I broke down the actual costs of starting up a zoo. Note that these figures will vary considerably depending on where you build the zoo - the location given in this example will be on the very low end of possibilities.

    Here's a real-world idea scheme. How many keepers do you want to have? You need at least two so that they can have days off. At a bare minimum, you'd better be paying them at least $25,000 a year just so they could survive. $30,000-$35,000 would be better. You're also going to need people to sell tickets and clean up. Here, you'd look at at least three people. You might (and this would be sub-minimum wage) be able to do that at $15,000 a year. So right there, in terms of 5 employees, you're already at a bare minimum of $95,000 a year. That's before exhibits, animals, food, construction, insurance, promotion/marketing, upkeep, supplies, utilities (gas, water, electricity), vehicles for transport. We could take a look at those individually too. Utilities, expect about $1,000 per month, so $12,000 a year (again, bare minimum). Insurance,: you'll need property insurance, liability insurance, health insurance for the workers, auto for your vehicles, plus a few other policies - here's look at a bare minimum of $50,000 per year (possibly higher for an upstart with no experience). Vehicles: you have to have something to transport the animals, food, workers, and supplies. A good truck will be about $25,000, add on to that perhaps $200 in gas every month (another $2,400 per year). In order to promote and market your zoo so that people actually visit, factor in $1,000 a month (another $12,000 a year).
    So right there, we have $95,000 in staff salaries and $101,400 for services for a total of $196,400 per year (minus the $25,000 for the truck in years after year 1). This is before you have any animals, buildings, exhibits, or animal food. This also doesn't factor in basic supplies (tools, equipment, etc.), graphics, taxes, visitor amenities (like food, drinks, gifts, etc.).
    Oh, you also have to buy the land. Let's say you want a 10-acre zoo. A small zoo in it's own right. I found a patch of 10 acres in South Carolina for $34,000. But, here's the catch, it's not easily accessible for the public. So, if you want something that the public can access via good roads and feel safe, I'd budget for at least double that amount - $68,000. Running tally is now $264,400. Oh, and you'll have to pay property and school taxes on that land. In SC, property rate is 4% up to 5 acres. We'll use that as a base rate (above 5 acres is determined by local jurisdictions). Four percent of $68,000 is $2,720, and that's just for the land itself. Once you've developed that, that number will go up quickly. That brings our running tally to $267,120.
    Next thing you need to think about is sidewalks for the visitors. Say you have one mile of sidewalks - not unreasonable for a 10-acre zoo. The average rate on that is $204,000. You'll also need a parking lot. Be prepared to give up an acre of your land for that. Going rate for an asphalt parking lot is roughly a dollar a square foot. At one acre, you need to budget about $40,000. Running tally - $471,160.
    Note: we haven't built anything other than the sidewalk and the parking lot so far. There are no buildings, there are no exhibits, there are no animals.
     
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  8. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    The best advice is probably to have a billionaire or two in your family. Alternatively buy tickets in half a dozen lotteries and get serially lucky. John Aspinall managed to make enough money to found two zoos by gambling, initially I think he used his own money, but he made much more once he owned a gambling club. Gerald Durrell's brother was well known author and I think this helped him to start off as a writer, but he was a good at writing too, which helped.
    It strikes me that although this is very good advice, it is not very helpful and it's not encouraging at all. I'm sorry about that, but facts tend to turn dreams into dust.
     
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  9. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I gained great enjoyment from re-reading your entire post and I remember it well from the first time you typed it up on ZooChat. Some young zoo enthusiasts simply do not factor in all of the costs that come with starting up a zoo and your total of half-a-million dollars did not even include any buildings, exhibits or animals and everything you mentioned was the bare minimum requirements. In reality someone would need multiple wealthy partners and/or several million dollars just to begin the idea of thinking of opening a zoo. Anyone who truly believes that they can survive on a few pennies and some rolls of chain-link fencing needs to win the lottery! :)
     
  10. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    Off topic posts have been deleted. Carry on in the actual topic please.
     
  11. pachyderm pro

    pachyderm pro Well-Known Member

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    Got a little carried away. Though it could be a learning experience for Baily to see just how diverse and complicated the zoo world really is.:D