SF Zoo Boss Comes Under Fire

Ignores staff expertise, animal welfare, say workers
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2007 5:02 AM CST
Marilza Sousa wipes her eyes during a candlelight vigil for her son Carlos Sousa Jr. on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007, in San Jose, Calif. Sousa was killed by a Siberian tiger that escaped at the San Francisco...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The tiger escape that resulted in the death of a teenage boy at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas Day has unleashed a rash of staff complaints about long-term mismanagement of the institution by director Manuel Mollinedo, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Employees are leaving in droves, animals are dying, and zookeepers are being injured by their charges, workers point out.

Three of the zoo's four elephants have died since Mollinedo took over in 2004. His zoo administration is secretive and dismissive of workers' expertise, according to staffers. "It's a top-down mentality that the zoo has adopted," said a former manager. "And I think it's very dangerous."