In case you missed it, the second hand animal market has crashed. Forced to slash budgets by cash starved municipalities, the nation’s public zoos have been paring back their collections of living exhibits.
The Washington Zoo is trying to offload a 7,000 pound hippopotamus; while the San Francisco Zoo is short some tigers after one ate a visitor and had to be shot. The Portland Zoo was able to liquidate a portfolio of lemurs only because of the popularity of the recent DreamWorks’ “Madagascar 3” animated film.
When zoos are forced to economize, they downsize the big eaters first to save on feed costs; hence, the absence of elephants in San Francisco (Could this be a political gesture?). In fact, zoo staff were recently busted for illegally harvesting acacia on private property, a favorite food of giraffes, which grows wild here after its introduction a century ago.
The hardest to move? Baltimore has been trying to sell its snake collection for two years now. Talk about an illiquid market. Maybe they should try AIG. Snake derivatives anyone?