Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 20, 2013

Oakland Zoo’s Habitat Destruction In Knowland Park

Reblogged from Save Knowland Park

Drilling and Habitat Destruction in the Park

We know it’s the holiday time and people have lots of things to do – but we need your help NOW. Thanks to observant Park supporters, we were alerted to NEW ZOO ACTIVITY IN THE PARK – the drilling of holes and pouring of concrete in the proposed expansion area, conducted this week BEFORE any wildlife regulatory permits from state and federal wildlife regulatory agencies were approved. The heavy trucks left behind a maze of tire tracks in the thin soils of the rare grassland, habitat for the Alameda whipsnake.  In the winter the snake hibernates in rodent burrows which can be crushed by heavy trucks driving over them. 

View of the drilling truck (bottom) and the white trailer (top) on the grasslands trailer

View of the drilling truck (bottom) and the white trailer (top) on the grasslands trailer

When FOKP folks stopped to speak to the contractors about the threats to these sensitive resources, the contractors were surprised  since Zoo management did not alert them to the fact that the grasslands and snakes are rare, and impacts to them are to be avoided and minimized.  As we have seen so many times before, zoo executives must feel the rules simply don’t apply to them – so impatient are they to get  bulldozers out there.

Heavy trailer load – concrete mix, water, tools, drill bits

Heavy trailer load – concrete mix, water, tools, drill bits

WE NEED A STRONG PUBLIC OUTCRY AGAINST THIS CLEARLY IMPROPER ACTION! It’s no accident that they are doing this during the holiday season – according to a seasoned environmental activist, it is common for developers to undertake such things at a time when they know opposition will be harder to mobilize. The fact is that before undertaking any construction activity the zoo is supposed to have regulatory permits, and even if they have found some narrow loophole that allows “preconstruction surveys,” authentic park stewards who care would have been present on site to make sure that any activity was done carefully  so as not to damage habitat.

Tire tracks near the maritime chaparral (near the proposed wolf enclosure) and filled sampling hole

Tire tracks near the maritime chaparral (near the proposed wolf enclosure) and filled sampling hole

Another view of the extensive tire tracks in the grasslands from the drilling truck and trailer

Another view of the extensive tire tracks in the grasslands from the drilling truck and trailer
SAVE THE DATE: SUNDAY, JANUARY 5 2014, TIME TBA. We’re planning a big rally in front of the zoo to protest this action and the taking of our Park for this bad project – can we count on you to show up? Our goal is to get a good crowd of supporters out to demonstrate that we are not going to stand by while the zoo continues to thumb its nose at environmental protections.

CAN YOU SHOW UP AND STAND UP FOR THE PARK AND ITS CREATURES? If you can come, please email our volunteer coordinator, Elise Bernstein [elisebernstein@gmail.com] so we will know how many to plan for.
Meanwhile, as you may already know if you follow us on Facebook, we are gathering signatures for two NEW PETITIONS on the change.org site ( links are below, and also on our website, www.saveknowland.org) – one to major zoo donors, and one to zoo board members, asking them to reconsider their support for this project. PLEASE click those links NOW and sign in support, and share them widely with your networks – we want to get donors and board to consider whether they really do want their names linked with this environmental travesty:
Donor petition:
In communities all over the world, people are fighting to save their last wild places for future generations. Knowland Park is ours. Thanks to all your efforts, what was sold as a slam-dunk development years ago isn’t quite working out that way. But the threat remains real and imminent – the zoo still threatens to break ground next spring. We can’t let it happen.
Enjoy your holidays, and take a little time for a stroll in our wonderful wildland Knowland Park – even with almost no rain, the “hopeful green stuff” is appearing again. Take the time to read the absolutely beautiful piece about Knowland on our website (written by Heather Wood): http://www.saveknowland.org/2013/11/20/what-knowland-park-means-to-me-by-heather-wood/
And we’ll see you January 5 to launch the next phase of our campaign to save it!
Thanks for everything you do to protect our Park.
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