Zoo New England’s Funding Public Relations Strategies
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Franklin Park Zoo PR Story Update

The Zoo is attempting to put pressure on the Governor and Legislature to continue funding the Zoo, after Massachusetts state budget negotiations reduced funding from $6.5 million to $2.5 million.

On Saturday the Zoo clarified that the Zoo will not put down animals but that the State might have too, this clarification is being read by the press and public that the Zoo will not have to put down any animals.

On Sunday, Governor Deval Patrick's office made a statement that no animals will die as a result of the budget measures.

"As a supporter of the zoo and a parent who has visited often, the governor is disappointed to learn that Zoo New England has responded to this difficult but unavoidable budget cut by spreading inaccurate and incendiary information," the governor's office said in a statement. "In the midst of an economic crisis like this one, when families and businesses alike are making sacrifices, we would all do well to remain level-headed and focused on solutions. The administration looks forward to working with Zoo New England and their supporters to find one."

While at first glance this is apparently good news for the animals, it is not good news for Zoo New England because without State funding the institution will not resemble the active, growing Zoo it is today. The Zoo's public relations strategy has been to shock the local community with the statement that the State might have to euthanize 20% of the animals at the Zoo. Given the volume of conversation in twitter, and how fast the story was picked up nationally, the strategy worked extremely well.

One issue I see here is that while many members of the public have called for fund raisers they have not coalesced around a campaign to call State Representatives and State Senators. I wrote in my earlier article about the zoo closure story, I support the zoo and but think the zoo should stress the Zoo’s economic impact in arguments for retaining funding.  Either way, if you are a Zoo supporter contact your state representatives and senators to let them know your opinion on funding for the zoo.