More Layoffs … This Time at the Bronx Zoo

In a world of bad economic news, layoffs seem like a quick solution to a seemingly complex problem. Recently, directors of the Bronx Zoo made the difficult decision to cut hundreds from their team of animals.  The porcupines, foxes, and deer were told on Monday that their exhibits would close within the month, but the zoo is providing them with generous severance packages (a.k.a. tree bark for the porcupines, mice and rats for the foxes, and an all-you-can-eat pass to the White House gardens for the deer) as well as career counseling. One resume writer said she had already received several calls from the animals. “Everyone has key strengths and skills,” she said, “My goal is to create an accomplishment-driven resume for each of them. What kinds of things did they do on a daily basis that wasn’t expected of them?  Maybe they kept their cages cleaner than normal; maybe they waited to scratch their private parts until all the spectators were gone for the day.”  A Career Coach said she has been working nonstop since the news hit the zoo.  “My phone is ringing off the hook, “she commented, “Most of the animals need tips on how to interview, what to wear, and how to answer that annoying question every hiring manager seems to ask, ‘Sooooo, tell me about yourself.’”


A source close to the lemurs and antelopes said they are all taking the news in stride. “A few are thinking about a career change,” said the anonymous source, “Some will return to a life of foraging for food in the wilderness while others are thinking of a career in education, a seemingly secure profession for now.” The bats on the other hand, seem to be taking the news hard. “I don’t know who is going to eat all the bugs around that place now,” said one bitter bat on the condition of anonymity, “And eventually, the economy will turn around and they’re going to have to hire all new unskilled bats who have no idea how to even find a bug let alone catch it.”


A local recruiting firm said they have a few clients who are interested in speaking with the animals about future opportunities, mostly in life insurance sales.  In the meantime, the deer, lemurs, and antelopes were all seen standing in line at the local unemployment office. In order to cut costs until they find other jobs, all were drinking coffee from the local gas station instead of Starbucks. Unfortunately, the deer ate all the office’s plants and were kicked out before they could collect their first check. Word on the street is that the porcupines have banded together and started their own “Speed Networking” group. The bats are thinking about initiating weekly Toastmasters meetings at Denny’s.  “Let’s face it,” said one bat, “We have been out of the scene for quite some time.  My public speaking skills aren’t what they should be.” The lemurs formed their own motorcycle club and plan on taking a cross-country trip very soon. Currently, they are trying to figure out how to ride their motorcycles while hanging upside down.


When the grizzly bears were asked about their thoughts on the layoff, one said, “Look man, we’re just trying to make a living here.  We don’t want to cause any trouble.” Then he ate the reporter and his notepad in order to destroy any evidence of the conversation.


Yes, the Bronx Zoo and all its animals will live to tell the tale, just like all the companies and their employees that have had to make and endure the consequences of difficult decisions in recent months. But just remember one thing, if you’re riding down the highway and you see a group of lemurs pull up alongside your car, give them a toot and the thumbs-up sign. They might have lost what they thought was a secure job, but the major life change drove them to live a dream they had been holding off on pursuing until retirement.


And that’s what it’s all about in the end—survival of the fittest.


About Vicky DeCoster

Award-winning humor writer Vicky DeCoster is the author of "From Diapers to Dorkville," "Husbands, Hot Flashes, and All That Hullabaloo!" and "The Wacky World of Womanhood." She has been published in over 60 magazines, books, and on several web sites. Vicky lives in Nebraska with her husband and two children where she loves to laugh every day. Visit her at
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