Vetter bequest means $100,000
Vetter bequest means $100,000 for new zoo exhibit
A bequest from the estate of a noted Atascadero resident will help pay for a new Red Panda exhibit at the City’s Charles Paddock Zoo. According to attorney Glen R. Lewis, trustee of the Thelma Vetter Estate, the Central Coast Zoo Society (CCZS) has received $100,000 to be used for the development of the exhibit.
“Mrs. Vetter, an Atascadero resident since 1946, was a very caring person who loved animals and especially was concerned over the welfare of animals,” said Lewis in a letter to the CCZS. “Her belief in the local Zoo led her to leave this bequest to the Zoo Society in order to assist in the care and custody of the zoo’s occupants and especially a needed expense for the improvement of the zoo,” wrote Lewis. Lewis said it was his understanding the zoo needed funds for the development of a Red Panda exhibit. Lewis stipulated the bequest be used “for this exhibit and not to be used for any other purpose except as may be needed for the zoo and decided by Alan Baker, your zoo director.”
Lewis said Mrs. Vetter was a very private person who did not usually want her name associated with her gifts, but he felt she should be recognized for her generosity.
“I feel that her name should be proudly displayed with any of the gifts that I, as the trustee of her trust estate, am fortunate enough to bestow on noteworthy charities,” said Lewis.
The Charles Paddock Zoo has been chosen to receive Red Pandas by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Red Panda Species Survival Plan Group. Red Panda are a species that were selected when putting together the Zoo’s master plan.
Red Pandas are a raccoon sized mammal native to the southern foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. While Red Panda are not related to the Giant Panda which are members of the bear family, they do have several things in common; they both eat Bamboo as their diet. They also have a small thumb like on their front paws that allows them to hold Bamboo shoots while they eat. Our goal here at the zoo is to become a breeding partner with the panda group. To do this we will have to build a new Panda exhibit.
According to Zoo Director Alan Baker, the recent donation to the zoo from the Vetter estate will be used to begin the process of constructing this new exhibit. The exhibit will be located in the grassy area north of the existing tiger exhibit in the zoo. The exhibit will be designed to allow the zoo staff to house both breeding adults and panda cubs.
The $100,000 check was presented to Councilman Bob Kelley who delivered it to George Dodge, the Treasurer of the Central Coast Zoo Society, on June 10th.
“It is an honor to accept this check and deliver it to the Central Coast Zoo Society,” said Kelley. “Our Charles Paddock Zoo means a lot to Atascadero and, obviously, it meant a lot to Mrs. Vetter also. We deeply appreciate this bequest and look forward to the improvements it will mean at the zoo.”
The Charles Paddock Zoo is the only accredited zoo beween San Jose and Santa Barbara. According to Zoo Director, Alan Baker, more than 30,000 people visit our facility each year.