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Zoos and community spending

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Yi Qi, 7 May 2019.

  1. Yi Qi

    Yi Qi Well-Known Member

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    This article about people critical of an expansion of the Black bear exhibit at the Turtle Back Zoo has caught my attention.

    Opponents Can't Bear Idea Of $16M Bear Exhibit At Turtle Back Zoo

    While it quickly degenerates into the usual "animals in captivity are trapped" spiel, the first comment, that the USD $16 million dollar budget for it, is a waste of taxpayer money that could have been used elsewhere in the community, like in infrastructure. This got me thinking about zoo budgets, particularly those in poorer communities. How much can zoos spend on improving themselves before it becomes detrimental to the community, whether public or private?
     
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  2. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    Tied into your question is: What economic benefits does a zoo or aquarium (or for that matter a sports franchise) REALLY bring to a community? How does the community benefit?
    There are zoo consulting firms that specialize in answering these questions - but I have no idea whether their projections are ever tested and verified after the fact
     
  3. Echobeast

    Echobeast Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Here’s a recent article that goes into the economic impact of AZA facilities on the community:

    The Economics of Zoos - SmartAsset

    An excerpt that talks specifically the dollar amounts generated for the economy:

    Now that’s a lot of money. But that’s all of North America. Let’s look at New Jersey specifically because that’s where Turtle Back Zoo is located. The zoo is located in West Orange County with a population of 48,485 (in 2017) and attracted >900,000 visitors in 2017.

    The New Jersey Devils of the NHL had a home attendance of 623,240 in 2017/2018. Located in Newark, it’s the largest city in the state with a population of 285,154 (in 2017).

    The entire NHL made $4.86 billion in revenue in 2017/2018.

    Based on these numbers alone, I think the community shouldn’t be complaining about the zoo expanding with a paltry $16 million compared to the major economic benefit the zoo provides for their small community. Nearly 20x their population visit the zoo every year. Why would you try and stop that from happening?

    And this is ignoring the argument based on emotion that “bears are sad in zoos” which isn’t factual despite what the article says.
     
  4. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    The article gives the impression that the real opposition is about hating zoos and the community priorities argument is a simply dodge to draw in more general support
     
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  5. Loxodonta Cobra

    Loxodonta Cobra Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Agreed. Hopefully common sense and knowledge prevails in this case.
     
  6. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    I can give an example of how this specific zoo is making a positive economic impact in the immediate future. Next month they are hosting the annual conference of the Feline Conservation Federation. Participants from around the country are descending for a long weekend and are staying at a hotel directly across the street from the zoo. None of these people would likely ever visit this city if it weren't for the zoo and this conference.
     
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  7. Yi Qi

    Yi Qi Well-Known Member

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    @Arizona Docent Mind you, this is a pretty small number in a brief window of time, like three days at most. How many families do you see treating going to a conference on a subject that is really boring as some must-see event a la Mardi Gras or Carnivale?
     
  8. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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  9. Ebirah766

    Ebirah766 Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Northeast New Jersey is a hotbed for anti-captivity soccer moms and activists.