A 1,200-pound polar bear called Major will lose his home next month. So will elderly orangutans Stanley and Betty, and a skinny Siberian tiger named Sasha. The 85-year-old Stone Zoo is closing because of state budget cuts.
"You can't help (but) develop attachments to the animals," said Mark Goldstein, the zoo's director. "You think of them as individuals."The zoo in this Boston suburb was already running on a shoestring, when its budget was slashed by 30 percent from last year because of the state's financial problems. Zoo officials decided to close Nov. 12 rather than house the animals in shoddy conditions.
"There are things worse than no zoo, like a bad zoo," Goldstein said.
About half the zoo's 200 or so residents will find homes at the Franklin Park Zoo, the larger of the two facilities run by MetroParks Zoos. Some will be moved to other zoos around the country.
But some are just too old or too big to relocate easily.
"For some, it will take months to find them a good home," Goldstein said. "But we won't let them end up in private collections. And we hope none will have to be euthanized."
Large meat-eaters are expensive to feed and maintain, said John Linehan, curator of mammals for the MetroParks Zoos.