Proposed New York Budget Shuts Out State's Zoos and Gardens

Posted on January 22, 2009

The Wildlife Conservation Society has made a humorous video (see below) about New York's new proposed budget that will shut out the state's zoos, aquariums and gardens. The video is funny but as the New York Times explains there is a sobering reality behind the video and that is that without funding some of the state's zoos, aquariums and gardens could close and all will face potential layoffs and exhibit cutbacks at the very least.

The state cuts, combined with a precipitous drop in endowment funds and corporate donations, have organizations from the New York Botanical Garden to the Niagara Falls Aquarium to the Utica Zoo reeling.

"It's hard to understand what you're even going to do next," said Susan Lacerte, the executive director of the 39-acre Queens Botanical Garden, which had expected to receive $226,000 from the state this year. Assemblyman Steve Englebright, a Democrat from Suffolk County, home to organizations like the Hoyt Farm Park in Commack and the Long Island chapter of the Nature Conservancy in Cold Spring Harbor, called the cuts "very bad policy."

"A 100 percent cut is essentially a way of forcing zoos to lay off people, reduce their living collections or close," he said.

The Times says all of the state's 76 zoos, aquariums and botanical gardens could be denied state financing next fiscal year. Here's the video from the WCF.