After 97 years, Bowmanville will no longer have a zoo to call their own. Businesses open and close all the time, but few have the name recognition that Bowmanville Zoo had, albeit for all the wrong reasons lately.
For all those blaming PETA, you need to give your head a shake. This zoo has been operating during their protests for years. It wasn’t PETA that laid charges against Michael Hackenberger, it was an agency of the Ontario Government.
It wasn’t PETA on the video swearing at a monkey during live TV, nor was it PETA who was swearing and whipping a tiger. (Michael admitted that he gave the animal “two quick swats to bring it into compliance”)
Michael Hackenberger also stated “If PETA ever got a hold of this they would burn this place to the ground”
The problem isn’t with PETA; the problem here lies squarely on the shoulders of the zoo owner, Michael Hackenberger.
Until Mr. Hackenberger is out of the picture, I can’t see attendance ever returning to its glory years. A bailout of any type from any level of government is unacceptable during the current ownership.
It’s quite obvious that those who showed up to support the zoo after the announcement that it would be closing it’s doors had little effect on the Zoo’s bottom line.
A GoFundMe page was set up to help raise money for the zoo. Since this page started over a month ago, only 3 people have donated raising $400.
The Zoo’s supporters on Facebook are begging people to go to the zoo and buy souvenirs from the gift shop, they even suggest that if you have the money, pay full price instead of using the discount coupon. They are also shamelessly asking their more than 1100 members to donate as little as $5 to the GoFundMe site. At the time of this writing, not one $5 donation from that group has been submitted.
Maybe someone out there wants to buy the Zoo and turn it into a place that we can all be proud of. The infrastructure is there for someone with creative idea’s to turn this Zoo into a place that cares for the animals as much as the people who are in charge of their care.
As it stands now, this Zoo has turned into a circus.
Michael Hackenberger didn’t own the Zoo for the last 97 years, it has changed hands before, and maybe it will change hands again.