• Cultural organizations are economic engines for NYC and cuts could mean elimination of jobs and services
  • Economic health of communities neighboring cultural organizations in all five boroughs will be impacted  
  • Video: “Group Therapy” features zoo animals lamenting the city’s proposed 53 percent cut to funding of culture
  • View the full video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTk-zucbByk
  • Visit BronxZoo.com to sign the petition

New York – June 15, 2010 – The Wildlife Conservation Society released a homemade video called Group Therapy created to inspire New Yorkers to send a message to City Hall to restore the proposed 53 percent cuts to operating support for New York City’s cultural organizations in all five boroughs.
The video, Group Therapy, uses some of the animals from WCS’s Bronx Zoo as an example to directly address the economic repercussions if the cuts become reality. While the video is humorous, the results of further cutting these cultural organizations during these difficult economic times will be serious.
Staring several of animals used in the zoo’s educational programs, the video depicts a group therapy session where the animals are attempting to deal with their anxiety over what could happen if the proposed budget cuts are not restored – each in their own way. The Peking duck is angry over the cuts while the emu chick cries uncontrollably; a kinkajou wonders about who will feed him and a pixie frog wonders if it is because of his looks. The video drives a very serious message in a clever way.
“The Bronx Zoo and the New York Aquarium – along with the rest of the city’s cultural organizations in all five boroughs – are economic drivers for New York City’s already hurting communities and families,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs. “They drive tourism, bring business to local merchants, create jobs, and are educational resources for families. If the cuts are allowed to pass as proposed, the effects will be felt in neighborhoods across the city.”
Next year’s proposed budget will cut support of all New York City cultural organizations by more than 50 percent, which means the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium face a $4.7 million cut, bringing down city support to $4 million. For more than 100 years, the city has been a part of a public private partnership with these world-class organizations and these cuts would threaten the future of both.
The Wildlife Conservation Society alone, which runs the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo,  pumps more than $316 million into New York City’s economy. More than four million guests visit WCS facilities each year, buying from local merchants in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and across New York.
As New York City lawmakers negotiate the executive budget proposal, WCS is asking New Yorkers to go to bronxzoo.com to sign a petition urging officials to restore funding for the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, and all our city’s cultural organizations. New Yorkers, families, businesses, community, and political leaders can collectively make a difference for culture in New York City by sending a message to City Hall that if this cut of more than 50 percent is implemented, the negative impact will be felt in communities across all five boroughs.
Go to bronxzoo.com to sign the petition and save New York City’s cultural organizations.

Max Pulsinelli – 718-220-5182; mpulsinelli@wcs.org
Steve Fairchild – 718-220-5189; sfairchild@wcs.org

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.