Petition Closed
Petitioning Ms. Kim Squires U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Program and 2 others

Save Knowland Park! Protect Oakland’s Largest Wildland Park from a Destructive Development!

UPDATE:

While this petition is now closed, and we are extremely grateful for all your support and encouragement, you can do more to help save Knowland Park. We have two new petitions, here on change.org, asking the zoo's large-money donors and the zoo's management to reconsider their actions. They can be found at the links below, and we'd really appreciate you signing both of them!

1) Petition to the zoo's big donors

https://www.change.org/petitions/oakland-zoo-s-big-donors-withdraw-your-financial-support-for-a-theme-park-development-save-knowland-park

2) Petition to the zoo management

https://www.change.org/petitions/oakland-zoo-management-save-knowland-park-abandon-your-theme-park-expansion-on-knowland-park-s-ridgeline-2

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Your help is needed to save Oakland’s largest city park – Knowland Park – from an unnecessary and destructive zoo expansion project! Despite pleas by a wide range of conservation groups to modify their project, Oakland Zoo executives have pushed forward with plans to bulldoze and build on rare wildlife and plant habitat, putting in danger threatened species like the Alameda Whipsnake, and the wide variety of wildlife that call Knowland Park home.

At approximately 500 acres, Knowland Park is the largest remaining wildland park in the City of Oakland, California. Gifted by the State of California to the City of Oakland to be preserved in perpetuity, the park is home to numerous wildlife including mountain lions, foxes, coyote, deer, owls, hawks, songbirds, amphibians, reptiles, and many small mammals.

Conservation groups, including the East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, the California Native Grasslands Association, Friends of Knowland Park, Resource Renewal institute,  Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity have fought for years to preserve this important park in the East Bay hills – yet zoo executives have refused to consider alternatives that would allow for the expansion of the zoo without irreparably harming plant and wildlife species.

Please join the East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, the Friends of Knowland Park and the Center for Biological Diversity in calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect this park from the zoo’s destructive expansion plan!

Zoo executives are now pushing ahead to seek permits from state and federal wildlife agencies to allow them to bulldoze and fence more than 50 acres of the park, destroying wildlife habitat and harming threatened wildlife species – including the Alameda Whipsnake, a local snake species which only survives in select areas of the East Bay.

The clock is running – the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must make a decision by early September on whether they will permit Zoo executives to harm this beautiful park. Please join us in calling on wildlife officials to Save Knowland Park and the species that depend on it! 

Letter to
Ms. Kim Squires U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Program
Ms. Cay Goude U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Program
Mr. Ryan Olah U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Program
Suspend permitting of Oakland Zoo Cal. Trails project in Knowland Park

Endangered Species Program
US Fish and Wildlife Service
2800 Cottage Way Room-2605
Sacramento, CA 95825

I am writing to the US Fish and Wildlife Service to urge that you suspend permitting under the Endangered Species Act for the Oakland Zoo's “California Trails” expansion project in Knowland Park. The zoo has chosen to locate its 56-acre development on this public park's most sensitive open space areas, where it will damage and destroy rare plant resources and habitat for threatened species, including the Alameda whipsnake.

Better alternatives exist, but the zoo has steadfastly refused to consider moving its project, and has acted in bad faith by continuing to omit all mention of the rare maritime chaparral plant community at the site as well as the extent of the destruction of whipsnake habitat if the project were approved.

Because the selected location is characterized by high fire danger, the zoo will need to remove rare vegetation and whipsnake habitat in an attempt to reduce fire danger. The most recent research has shown that the Alameda whipsnake population at Knowland Park and within the western portion of Unit 2 may hold the key to the snake's genetic diversity and is thus instrumental in its recovery; therefore, its habitat should be protected, not reduced or damaged.

Instead, the zoo should consider less destructive alternatives for its expansion project – alternatives that protect the rare plant and animal species and the rich wildlife diversity of the park. Please help us protect the valuable resources at Knowland Park and deny permits for this project.

Thank you for your service to protect our natural environment.