Whether in the wild or at the zoo, nobody likes a sad lion. Yet, the lion portrayed in WCS’s latest video release, "Nobody Likes a Sad Lion,” is just that. He is upset about New York City’s proposed budget cuts to 33 of its cultural institutions, which include the Bronx Zoo (home to three new happy lion cubs) and the New York Aquarium.

City Hall’s proposed cut to the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG) comes as the nation and the city continue to navigate one of the worst economic climates in recent history. The Bronx Zoo and the New York Aquarium—along with the rest of the city’s cultural institutions—are economic drivers for New York City’s already financially strapped communities and families. In addition to driving tourism and drawing business to local merchants, these institutions are important educational resources for families.

As members of the world-renowned cultural community of New York, the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium annually generate nearly $290 million in economic impact for their communities.

In the adopted budget for Fiscal Year 2010, the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium received a total of $9.3 million from the city. If the proposed cut is accepted, the zoo and aquarium face a $3.9 million cut. Slashing city support by 42 percent to $5.4 million, this decrease will have a significant impact on stores, vendors, and restaurants adjacent to these world-class institutions.

If the cuts are allowed to pass, the institutions that help to make New York City the world cultural capital could be forced to eliminate jobs and cut services to the public they serve.

Petition Drive
The Wildlife Conservation Society has initiated a petition campaign to save the Bronx Zoo, the New York Aquarium and the other New York City cultural institutions from cuts to their city funding. The campaign aims to build massive community support behind convincing City Hall to restore funding to the city’s cultural institutions, which employ approximately 9,000 New Yorkers and help bolster local economies across New York City. Please sign our petition now.