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Influencing zoo decisions

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Norwegian moose, 25 Sep 2016.

  1. Norwegian moose

    Norwegian moose Well-Known Member

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    There are some threads on Zoochat about how Zoochatters would improve zoos if given the chance. But have anyone of you actually tried to influence zoo decisions in real life?

    Us Zoonerds collectively have huge amounts of knowledge, which could be used to change zoos to the better. So why not do it? Send E-mails to zoos with the improvements and aditions that you would like them to do. This could lead zoos to improve in ways that we want them to do.

    Off course money is an issue in improving zoos. But on the other hand; most zoos want to be attractive, and pride themselves on good exhibtry. Advice from Zoochatters could come in handy. And money is not an insurmountable obstacle.

    Maybe some of you even could be zoo advisors, who advice zoos about what to do. What do you think?
     
  2. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    If you don't have money, you don't have influence (unless you're a specialist in the field).
     
  3. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    You would only be able to achieve that position with many years of hands on experience.

    There are many zoos that don't even listen to their staff, let alone the public or some zoo-enthusiasts. In many cases keepers are lucky if they are included in planning meetings for new exhibits that they'll be looking after. Often it feels like your beating your head against a brick wall.

    And the senior executives usually have an agenda that is different to what a zoo enthusiast would want.

    Note that this isn't all zoos, and things may have changed in the last few years for the better, but a ZooChatter becoming an advisor will only happen if you have loads of experience within the industry. And there's only a few ZooChatters who fall into that category.

    That's what I think.

    :p

    Hix
     
  4. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    Individually yes, but a group of people can exert significant pressure on an organisation. Not that I'm suggesting ZooChat could or should do this.

    There is also a difference between having influence and having an influence. If you email a zoo with a suggestion and the right person sees it, decides it's a good idea and implements it in some form then you could hardly be said not to have influenced the decision.
     
  5. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    I can only speak for the United States (though I assume it may be a worldwide truth). As others have stated or implied, the chances of you making an impact are virtually zero. I was a docent at an AZA accredited zoo for over a decade. It was a small enough zoo that docents were on a first name basis with all the staff (up to director level). Our influence was less than zero and in fact it was blatantly clear that our opinion was not sought after or desired (even though several of us had seen more zoos than most staff members).

    This may be the only way a zoo can work. I mean every fan is going to have a different idea of how things should work and zoo staff would drive themselves crazy trying to please everyone. It is not just zoos, it is any profession that has fans. There are tons of sports fanatics who would love to tell team managers how to run their teams, but I am sure managers do not consult them on who to trade. Plus ZooChat members do not have the same interests as the general public. Our advice would likely not attract the public and not help bring people through the gates.
     
  6. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    I always wondered if zoo staff (or at least zoo directors) even readed ever any message of Zoochat. Unless it's a very small zoo, I think that a zoo director should be too busy for enjoy free time reading things in the net.

    Anyway, if I could influece a zoo director to do something, I would influence me to... offer me a job as a keeper with exotic animals!!!!! (and I have experience in private collections). Once inside and stable, is when I could influence ideas about bring rarer animals not often seen in zoos, hehe.
     
  7. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    They do indeed.
     
  8. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    Good managers listen to their colleagues and to their customers, and if they hear a good idea they will consider it, consult others if necessary, and then act on it: the best managers then give the credit to the person(s) who made the suggestion and to the people who worked to put it into effect - because that way they get to hear more good ideas.
    A few weeks ago I was talking to a ZooChatter who doesn't post much any more because he/she is working as a volunteer at a well-known zoo. This person spotted a common-sense solution to an obvious problem which many visitors were asking about. Although it took a while, this suggestion has been adopted and so there will be a little less frustration, and therefore greater satisfaction, for many zoo visitors in the future.
    QED.

    Alan
     
  9. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    I should point out that Steve Robinson owns his own zoo and in the past has asked ZooChat what we think he should do or import next. However you would only have been aware of this if you read the Australian forums. And this is definitely the exception to the rule.

    :p

    Hix
     
  10. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    If you have the right connections and the needed experience, it can happen that zoos will listen to your ideas. I've experienced it both during the time I was still working in zoos and in the time after that.
    At a small german zoo a nice collection of hornbills was kept but none of them in a breeding sithuation. After making some drawings and a lot of talking with the director I managed that 4 breeding aviaries were build and 2 species bred succesfully shortly after ( Trumpeter and Whreathed ).
    Also smaller ideas about lay-out of enclosures, collection-planning, nest-box disign and so on came to reality.
    After I left the "zoo-world"as a profecional, I've adviced several smaller collections on food, food-preparation, collection managment, breeding and raising methods and so on, so it IS possible to have some influence on your local zoo !
     
  11. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    I have already know what private persons to consult, if I ever try to keep zoo animals (and the only reason for preventing me from that is financial :) )

    -vogelcommando for birds in particular.

    If you don't mind, vogelcommando, can we know why you are not still working in zoo, such a nice and inspiring job as it looks like and would be like for zoo-animal lover (although I read once that zookeepers can at times be deppressed because of the job)?
    Please don't offend yourself and of course that you will not answer this question if you don't like.
     
  12. lowland anoa

    lowland anoa Well-Known Member

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    Didn't knew that Steve Robinson owns Darling Downs Zoo! I learn more on Zoochat, than outside the forums!