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Doug Kelso

I've always enjoyed the mural wall and the turtle pond. I remember when I went there as a child, there were often actual living turtles in it.

Up until today, though, it didn't even occur to me that the zoo's new education center would wipe out both the mural and the fountain/pool. That's really unfortunate; it was one of the very few things left from the "new" zoo in 1959 (and frankly, one of the only things worth keeping). It seems to me there should be a way to build around it.


If it's freestanding, it seems it could be re-used; it's a great visual and tactile connection to an earlier era of zoos--the time when animal welfare in zoos was just starting to become more than simply feeding and housing an animal for the public to see.

Doc Maberry, who was the zoo's first vet, wrote that the old zoo (where the Japanese Gardens are now) was so filthy and decrepit that it was held together only by the smell. Keepers had to climb over gates rusted shut to attend to animals. This mural represents a major turning point in how we view and care for animals.


It would be great if the zoo could at least auction off the parts of the mosaic mural as a fundraiser, or distribute it to ensure it lives on in some fashion. There's art value and historic value in the mural, and I'd hate to see it just landfilled...

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