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Snakes, Lies, and Cutting Red Tape: How the Oakland Zoo is Gaming the System

Earth Day demonstration against the Zoo’s Proposal - Photo by Karen Smith

Earth Day demonstration against the Zoo’s latest proposal – Photo by Karen Smith

It is difficult to imagine the Oakland Zoo proposing anything more outrageous than their plan to build an environmentally destructive “conservation” exhibit on the richest and most sensitive lands in Knowland Park, but in their latest proposal the preposterous trumps the outrageous. The upshot of their bold move toward endgame is that not only would the public lose far more park land than initially approved, but all public access to the very best native plant habitat in the park would be legally barred forever.

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WHAT A TURNOUT for the Save Knowland Park Rally on Sunday!!!

A supporter of Knowland Park and it's wildlife

A supporter of Knowland Park and its wildlife

Thanks to ALL who worked so hard to make it happen – donating materials, making signs, contributing speeches or music, leading cheers, waving signs, running our “shuttle,” sharing the information with others and turning out for a fun afternoon. It was truly inspiring to see people just keep coming and coming and coming as the crowd grew. Continue Reading →

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Drilling and Habitat Destruction Cover-up – Rally Against Expansion, Sun. Jan. 5!

Drilling2After we reported last week about the zoo’s contractors drilling holes and damaging sensitive wildlife and plant habitat prior to receiving  permits from the state and federal wildlife regulatory agencies, an alert Park supporter Friday  found the zoo’s contracted biologist and a small crew with rakes trying to cover over the tire tracks, remove concrete from the holes, and cover them with imported dirt. When we arrived on the scene to video, the first worker said they were covering tire tracks, the second one said they were “pulling French Broom” which was ridiculous since a) they had no pulling wrenches, only rakes, and b) there was almost no broom visible, since our Knowland Park Coalition work crews have already pulled most of it out. Continue Reading →

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Zoo executives intend to fence, grade, and develop this ridgeline as early as April. If they do, 56 acres of rare habitat and open space will be lost forever.

Zoo executives intend to fence, grade, and develop this ridge. If they do, 56 acres of rare habitat and open space will be lost forever.

A concerned zoo supporter’s call to action:

“I want our zoo to be responsible to the needs of animals and the environment—not just in the zoo itself, but in the adjoining natural open space of Knowland Park. I am deeply concerned about zoo executives’ plans to unnecessarily destroy important wildlife habitat as part of their planned ‘California Trail’ expansion project. I strongly encourage the zoo board to expand closer to existing zoo facilities and preserve the rare natural resources within Knowland Park. Don’t irreversibly tarnish the reputation of the zoo with an environmentally destructive development.”

Tell zoo executives and big donors to preserve Knowland Park

Go to and sign our 2 petitions search for:

For more info and petition links, find us on Facebook or go to

Friends of Knowland Park

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City finally commits to enforcing zoo’s management contract after years of questions, admits it never has done so


The reporting clauses of the management contract between the CIty of Oakland and the East Bay Zoological Society

As you know, for years we have been asking the city for copies of the documents the zoo is required to submit annually under its management contract with the city – namely, a “capital improvement budget, spending plan, actual expenses and schedule describing its projected development for the current budget year and for the next 2 following years.” The zoo has never produced any of these materials. Instead, it periodically produces retrospective feel-good reports couched in broad general terms, so it has been impossible for citizens to see how the zoo planned to or actually did spend its money - despite the fact that it gets a large amount of public funding every year from the city, the county, bond measures and the East Bay Regional Park District. And despite us raising this issue over and over, the city was apparently never willing to do anything about the fact that the zoo did not ever file the required annual reports and ignored its contractual obligation to do so.

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