Zoo Boise’s Crazy Beginning and Current National Recognition
Every year on April 8th, Zoo enthusiasts and employees celebrate National Zoo Lovers Day. A day to visit, donate and show gratitude to local zoos and all they do. National Today says, "Do you know how many animals were saved by zoos from going extinct? Yes, zoos are more than just conservation sites for endangered species, they also provide educational, research, and entertainment purposes. We can trace the history of zoos back to 4000 B.C. "
Idaho's very own, Zoo Boise is a major contributor in animal conservation and reproductive efforts. They are recognized and respected around the country for the great work they do. After being awarded a large grant last year, The City of Boise website said, "Zoo Boise has turned the act of visiting the zoo into a conservation action. Since 2007, visits to Zoo Boise have generated more than $3 million towards the conservation of animals in the wild, redefining why we have a zoo. Zoo Boise is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, a national organization that supports excellence in animal care, conservation, education, and science."
The origin of Zoo Boise's beginning is unlike any other. I went with my son and met with Jeff Agosta, Friends of Zoo Boise, Marketing & PR. He has lots of fun knowledge about the Zoo and its history that I was excited to share with you. In 1916 there were 'rare and highly-valued birds from the Sportsman’s Club' donated to the City of Boise. Not long after, still 1916, a circus came through Mountain Home. A monkey decided to retire from his life in the circus and escaped. He was found later in the desert of Mountain Home, well after the traveling circus had moved on and was taken to the city for care.
According to Zoo Boise, the "Police Department took care of the animals in the 1920's. Police would visit local restaurants and grocery stores looking for leftover food to feed the animals. More and more animals were brought in and by World War II, the zoo had 40 different species of animals on display."
It was a lot for the police to keep up with on top of their main job, plus the war made things difficult for everyone. Due to neglect The Zoo almost closed in 1961 until a citizens task force was appointed and formed the Idaho Zoological Society. This group is now known as the Friends of Zoo Boise who make everything possible. Through many changes and dedicated people, Zoo Boise continued to expand, save animals and become what it is today.
Zoo Boise really is a special place. I also learned about the extensive work and research they do for conservation efforts. They even match up animals for breading, especially endangered species, using a giant collaborative animal zoo database. Its basically like match.com for animals. Help support the effort by becoming a friend of the zoo by visiting, becoming a member or donating. Find out more about Zoo Boise on their website here.