Jennifer Graylock/AP
A female Prehensile Tailed Porcupine
(Coendou prehensilis) normally found
on the island nation of Madagascar on
display within the Bronx Zoo in 2007.

Fired! Animals Laid Off at the Zoo

April 28, 2009 06:30 PM
by Cara McDonough
The latest victims of the economic slump are animals in poorly performing exhibits at New York's Bronx Zoo. The animals will be shipped to other zoos.

Bye Bye Bats

The zoo’s Formosan deer, bats, porcupines, Arabian onyx and the animals in the "World of Darkness" exhibit will all hit the road, thanks to a $15 million budget shortfall.

John Cavalli of the Wildlife Conservation Society said to WCBS-TV, a CBS affiliate in New York, that the reason for the change is twofold. "We had decisions that needed to be made about old exhibits, and at the same time we needed to deal with the fiscal reality which is upon us.”

Some zoo visitors have already expressed dismay. "Some of these kids, it's the only opportunity to see some of these animals," parent Cathy Will said. However, Ariana Sandoval, a young zoo visitor, had a more hopeful take on the situation. "If the animals go back home, that means they can say 'hi' back to their friends,” she said.
According to the Daily Mail, the affected animals were chosen for their maintenance costs and their popularity among visitors. If the economy doesn’t improve, other animals could face a similar fate in the future.

Despite the fact that the decision was a difficult one for the zoo’s administration, and is the result of an undoubtedly serious financial crisis, many media outlets have taken a comic approach to the Bronx Zoo announcement. “Ee-Ee! Ooh-Ooh! Animals Get Pink Slips at Bronx Zoo,” reads the headline of a CNBC blog post. The lighthearted post questioned what the animals will do next. “And let’s just say, with the unemployment rate barreling toward 10 percent, there aren’t many positions open that require skills such as waddling around and licking salty things.”

The Spoof, a satire site, jokingly theorized in a story about the dire situation that zoo workers have witnessed the “wonderful animals turning into cannibals” due to cuts in the food budget.

Related Topic: Economy’s affect on marriage, food

The weak economy is having far-reaching effects on people’s lives.

Recent reports have suggested that some women are going so far as to choose marriage in order to gain a sense of security in this financially uncertain time. “Marriage-hunters” in Japan are setting aside professional goals and devoting themselves to finding a man and getting married. As evidence, a shrine believed to provide luck for marriage-hunters has received 20 percent more visitors this past year and many women are ironically spending a great deal of money on charms, prayers and dating services.

The economy is also affecting the way people eat. In a move away from the recent low-carb diet craze, pastas, packaged soups and prepared dinners are making their way back to American dinner tables as consumers look to budget-friendly meals.

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