WCS Releases Second Video Asking Albany to Restore Funding for New York's Zoos, Botanical Gardens, and Aquariums

Save ZBGA PSA 2 Photo
What’s a laid-off porcupine to do? Go to the unemployment office and beg for work, that’s what. Help us help Wednesday by calling Governor Paterson at 518-474-8390 and urge him to restore our state funding.
Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

The Bronx Zoo's Wednesday, the Porcupine, stars for a second time in newly released viral video

NEW YORK (March 17, 2009) -- The Wildlife Conservation Society is releasing a second viral video starring its now famous porcupine, Wednesday, to convince Albany to restore funding New York State's zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums in fiscal year 2010.

This video, in which Wednesday appears in an unemployment office, follows her first production in which she was fired from the Bronx Zoo due to pending funding cuts from the state, coupled with a volatile economy. The video was produced at no cost to WCS using all in-house talent, including the role of the unemployment agent, played by a WCS employee.

Click here to view the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBntHAD9EVw

The video is part of the efforts by zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums across the state (the Coalition of Living Museums) to convince Albany to reject Governor Paterson’s proposal to completely eliminate their state funding in fiscal year 2010. Currently, 76 zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums in the state share about $9 million in state funding each year. The governor has proposed cutting this funding for no strategic reason, as all of these facilities are vital to our state’s economy and important in the education of millions of our state’s students in science and the environment.

“Our latest video with Wednesday the porcupine is a humorous take on a very serious issue facing our state’s living museums,” said John Calvelli, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society. “We are hoping Wednesday can convince New Yorkers and all others who visit our facilities to contact Albany and petition the draconian cuts proposed by the governor.”

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s facilities that would be affected by these cuts would be the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium. These parks are located in some of the most underserved areas in New York City. Just the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium alone employ approximately 1,200 seasonal workers in the summer, many of whom are retirees, citizens on public assistance, and students. The Bronx Zoo is the largest youth employer in the Bronx. WCS pumps more than $400 million into the New York State economy through its five facilities. More than four million guests visit WCS facilities each year, buying from local merchants in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and across New York.

All 76 zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums that would be cut by the governor attract more than 12 million visitors to their institutions each year; bringing millions of spin-off dollars to merchants located near these living museums.

Since the first video starring Wednesday was released in January, more than 75,000 people have contacted officials in Albany asking that the state not disproportionately cut New York’s living museums.

With this new video, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Coalition of Living Museums are asking New Yorkers and all others to again petition Albany to ensure that these draconian cuts do not occur in 2010. All those inspired by Wednesday, the porcupine, should visit www.wcs.org to make their voices heard.


The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit www.wcs.org.


Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: www.wcs.org/donation


Contact
Linda Corcoran: (1-718-220-5182; lcorcoran@wcs.org)
Stephen Sautner: (1-718-220-3682; ssautner@wcs.org)

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