As we celebrate the beginning of a new year, we must also pause and reflect on this past year and the tremendous challenges and tragedies that were experienced. It is during these times that we see the goodness of humanity, and the unification of communities supporting one another reminding us that brighter days are ahead—brighter days for people and wildlife.
On the morning of November 9, a small brush fire erupted on the hillside behind the Zoo. Although the fire never reached Zoo grounds, the decision was made to remain closed to the public for the day so that emergency vehicles could have clear access to the area. In an abundance of caution, some animals were relocated to classrooms in the Children’s Discovery Center. Staff from every part of the Zoo, GLAZA, and the Zoo’s concessionaire, Service Systems Associates, joined together to help transport animals, hose down affected areas, and feed the firefighters. Additionally, our colleagues in the conservation community responded immediately. The Santa Barbara Zoo, the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, Sea World, and the Wildlife Waystation, as well as private parties, generously offered help when they heard of the fire and evacuations. This was an amazing display of community support.
So, as we welcome 2019, let’s make a promise to be a better community, one that cares about change, hope, and empathy. Animals, both near and far, depend on us. Their future is in our hands, and so I challenge all of us to take action for wildlife. I am grateful for your continued support of the Los Angeles Zoo and our commitment to conservation. Wishing you a healthy and Happy New Year.