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Charlie Traffas
Charlie Traffas has been involved in marketing, media, publishing and insurance for more than 40 years. In addition to being a fully-licensed life, health, property and casualty agent, he is also President and Owner of Chart Marketing, Inc. (CMI). CMI operates and markets several different products and services that help B2B and B2C businesses throughout the country create customers...profitably. You may contact Charlie by phone at (316) 721-9200, by e-mail at ctraffas@chartmarketing.com, or you may visit at www.chartmarketing.com.
Animals, Reptiles & Insects
2004-07-01 10:42:00
How do you plan a zoo?
ANSWER:  These are frequently asked questions. For most zoos, it starts with the master plan. This is a document adopted back in 1969 that is revised from time to time. Amazingly, very few big changes have been made to it and it has served as a very good road map to the stories we want to tell about nature. The plan rarely tells which animals to display, but usually indicates the kind of exhibit to be built such as a jungle or amphibian and reptile building with a few ideas of what it should be like. When the time actually comes to select animals, zoos look to our collection master plans.Each of our animal curators has a five-year collection plan with which they try to predict the animals we will need for display or otherwise hold in our collection. There is a mammal plan, a bird plan and a plan for reptiles, amphibians, and fishes. Each plan is based on a variety of factors including our exhibit master plan, how much space is available, and whether or not there is a cooperative breeding plan between zoos accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA). Of course we have to consider whether or not a species will be a suitable display. Will it always be hidden or be too stressed? The curators also have to figure out how many individuals of each species we should have.Most of our animals come from other AZA accredited zoos or aquariums and they can be loans, gifts, or sales. For instance, all of the gorillas, bongos, okapis, colobus monkeys, and DeBrazza's monkeys are from other zoos. AZA provides an animal exchange listing for its members and sometimes animals are found through that. However, if a species is managed by an AZA Species Survival Plan (SSP), the zoo-to-zoo movement of any of those animals is planned by a committee. We say we can hold so many of a species and the committee assigns us whatever animals fit best in the management plan.Sometimes we purchase animals from animal dealers that we believe abide by our code of ethics. Most of the animals purchased from dealers have been fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Birds are often purchased from other zoos.Usually the animals in multi-zoo breeding programs don't cost us anything if we get them from an American zoo. It may seem odd, but some of the rarest animals in our zoo were free. But there is always the cost of getting them here. For small animals the best shipping is usually by air. Sometimes we do our own over-the-road shipping, as was done with our gorillas, and sometimes we hire specialists to do it. We do whatever is best for the animal. Even when we ship our own animals we have to figure vehicle costs, gas, meals, motels, and salaries with overtime for two or three people for maybe two or three days. Believe me, free animals aren't free, but when it comes to saving endangered species, they're worth every penny.
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