Source: TSA Travel Blog
Date: September 11, 2009
Rafetus Barrier Installed!
The TSA prides itself on its ability to respond swiftly and effectively to conservation needs around the world. This was displayed once again in China, with the construction of the new glass barrier around the small Rafetus pond at the Suzhou Zoo.
The TSA Board of Directors was presented with the need for the barrier at the TSA conference in St. Louis (August 5-8). The female, the last of her kind, had been observed on numerous occasions investigating and sometimes consuming the trash that was being thrown into her pond by zoo visitors. Rather than waiting until $30,000 could be raised for a barrier around the entire exhibit, the TSA instead crafted a proposal to the Suzhou Zoo to provide $15,000 immediately to build a barrier around just the small pond as a critical first step.
Thanks to the generosity of the TSA Board - specifically Chuck Landrey, Pat Koval, Walter Sedgwick and Anders Rhodin - the funds for this first step were committed almost immediately, contingent on a proposed agreement with the Suzhou Zoo. The agreement letter was drafted in both English and Chinese and delivered to the Zoo by Dr. Kuchling in a matter of days. The terms of the proposal included an agreement by the Zoo to follow the nutrition and husbandry recommendations of Dr. Kuchling and the TSA in an effort to increase the chances of a successful clutch in 2010.
We were thrilled to receive the news (and photos!) on September 3 that the barrier was complete. It is very rare that an international project of this size is able to go from an "ask" to a reality in less than one month. Thank you to everyone who made this possible!