Six Flag purchased endangered animals sans permit

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b.mac

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May 14, 2011
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According to the NJ.com article that Coaster-Net piggy backed off of PETA brought up concerns about their permits and animal treatment late last year, fitting since GADv was announcing some new births in the safari family.

I'm not 100% familiar with the Safari side of things but plenty of ex-coworkers regularly interacted with the Safari staff through the Safari attraction and everyone took pride in how they treated the animals. I also think this whole situation brings up shortcomings in the CBW Permit system given by the NFWS, considering GAdv has:

  1. Apparently gone 12 years without a permit and was able to purchase animals without any repercussions.
  2. Wait over 14 months for approval of their permit application, without the previous 11 years of lacking a permit being brought up.
 
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Zimmy

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I am VERY close to someone who worked zoo there. They were VERY dedicated. I think she told me they lost their AZA accreditation, in the zoo world that his huge. AZA is the governing body that sets rules about everything from habitat enclosure environments to who can mate with whom. WIth the exception of the Bald Eagle they control the breeding stock of all endangered animals in reputable zoos and aquarium's. There are other organizations but they do not have the reputation of AZA and tend to have more shady members.

If I am remembering correctly this would go a LONG way to explaining the loss of accredidation.
 
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Sep 24, 2018
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I am VERY close to someone who worked zoo there. They were VERY dedicated. I think she told me they lost their AZA accreditation, in the zoo world that his huge. AZA is the governing body that sets rules about everything from habitat enclosure environments to who can mate with whom. WIth the exception of the Bald Eagle they control the breeding stock of all endangered animals in reputable zoos and aquarium's. There are other organizations but they do not have the reputation of AZA and tend to have more shady members.

If I am remembering correctly this would go a LONG way to explaining the loss of accredidation.
That's terrible. It definitely sounds like they have gone downhill in recent years which is a shame.
Granted AZA is a voluntary program. There is no legal requirement. It's simply a way of allowing people to know that you have high quality of care. It's also possible that they still have a high quality of care they simply decided the costs associated with membership were no longer necessary.
 

Zimmy

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Up front let me say that I need to ask my friend if she knows if 6Flags chose to leave, were told to leave, or if they were removed. As I recall from the converstation they lost the accreditation.

While it is true that AZA and the other associations are voluntary once you are part of the said association you have to maintain certain standards.

It is important to remember that AZA continually modifies their standards to reflect the latest research. The VA Zoo fought hard to rebuild the zoo in a model that met those specifications. They also work hard to continue to upgrade their facilities to maintain said accreditation. The disposition of the elephant and elephant habitat speak to this effort. AZA came to the conclusion based of the latest behavioral research that elephants are happier in larger groups then the park could easily provide. Further due to the age and disposition of the 2 females in the herd they would be better in a warmer climate. As a result they worked with the zoo to move the elephants to Miami where they could join a larger herd and spend their twilight years. The net result was that the Virginia Zoo rehabbed the facility to support the new Rhino herd.

I say all this to demonstrate how the Zoo - AZA relationship benefits the Zoos and more importantly the animals. I also bring it up to show the level of work the zoos have to commit to to maintain their accreditation.

Certainly you do not have to be an AZA member to be a very well run and excellent zoo. However you have to do some fairly terrible things to LOOSE said accredidtation. I only say this to indicate that provided they did import animals outside of the AZA system they are NOT behaving in an ethical manor.
 

Ziva

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It's not totally true that you have to do terrible things to lose accreditation. The Pittsburgh Zoo is famously no longer an AZA facility because they wouldn't follow a rules update forbidding free contact with elephants. Their elephants had always on a free contact program, and the zoo staff were worried that going no contact would distress them. You can also lose AZA accreditation for breeding certain color morphs that are overall poor for the genetic diversity of the species. I uh...strongly suspect that GAdv didn't lose their accreditation over differences in scientific opinion, though.
 
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This. Honestly the only difference in Pittsburgh that I noticed is that members of the zoo no longer have reciprocity with other AZA facilities.
 

Zimmy

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SO I checked with my friend again. When I asked her if they had lost AZA... She laughed at me... "Lost! Hell they never had it to begin with..." Apparently I was wrong about that part.

Apparently in my friends time at the zoo she was less than impressed with how they handled themselves. Apparently they had a bad tendency to kill their animals and also it seems that they had constant problems with folk coming in from the park and feeding crap to the animals.

Long and short she was not surprised that they had been inappropriately buying animals.

It's not totally true that you have to do terrible things to lose accreditation. The Pittsburgh Zoo is famously no longer an AZA facility because they wouldn't follow a rules update forbidding free contact with elephants. Their elephants had always on a free contact program, and the zoo staff were worried that going no contact would distress them. You can also lose AZA accreditation for breeding certain color morphs that are overall poor for the genetic diversity of the species. I uh...strongly suspect that GAdv didn't lose their accreditation over differences in scientific opinion, though.
I would argue that what they were doing was terrible. But I also get angry when I see big cats being handled by humans (other than trained staff).

As I mentioned up above I was wrong that they ever had it to begin with...

This. Honestly the only difference in Pittsburgh that I noticed is that members of the zoo no longer have reciprocity with other AZA facilities.
There are massive internal differences now. They will have a much harder time with breeding programs.
 
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b.mac

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SO I checked with my friend again. When I asked her if they had lost AZA... She laughed at me... "Lost! Hell they never had it to begin with..." Apparently I was wrong about that part.

Apparently in my friends time at the zoo she was less than impressed with how they handled themselves. Apparently they had a bad tendency to kill their animals and also it seems that they had constant problems with folk coming in from the park and feeding crap to the animals.
I was about to say this. I was fairly certain any drive through safari was automatically out of AZA accreditation unless it was like DAK's where the animals are pretty much isolated from the vehicles.

Also unsure about the killing animals part, but one of the reasons why Great Adventure merged the Safari into the Amusement Park was due to guests feeding animals all sorts of stuff they should not have been consuming.
 

Zimmy

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I was about to say this. I was fairly certain any drive through safari was automatically out of AZA accreditation unless it was like DAK's where the animals are pretty much isolated from the vehicles.

Also unsure about the killing animals part, but one of the reasons why Great Adventure merged the Safari into the Amusement Park was due to guests feeding animals all sorts of stuff they should not have been consuming.
She worked the drive through and particularly hated that. It seems many of the drivers just did not give a shit and said nothing when things like Giraffes would stick their heads in and eat whatever was offered.

The level of disdane she has for the park is remarkable.
 

Ziva

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I would argue that what they were doing was terrible. But I also get angry when I see big cats being handled by humans (other than trained staff).
WAIT, were they seriously doing free GUEST contact with big cats?? That's incredibly inappropriate, even if it were an ambassador animal. Cheetahs are really the only big cats who should EVER have human contact.
 

Zimmy

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WAIT, were they seriously doing free GUEST contact with big cats?? That's incredibly inappropriate, even if it were an ambassador animal. Cheetahs are really the only big cats who should EVER have human contact.
Nono, I do not mean to suggest that 6 Flags were permitting big cat interaction, just that there are places that do. I would say that cheetahs have no business in human contact either.

For those interested there is a excellent website for a really great rehab in Florida. Big Cat Rescue. They have been doing amazing things with big cats (and small) that have been abused by road side zoos, idiots with pets, breeders, and the like.

It's safe to say that zoos at amusement parks like this should not exist.
I think that might be taking it too far. Tampa does an excellent job as to the Sea World parks, heck they are AZA. Now I suppose you did not mean to include those parks since you did say "amusement parks," however I do not see why a well funded and operated amusement park could not operate a zoo.
 
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