Citizens Lobbying for Animals in Zoos

Our History

25 Years Ago.


When Justin Barker was just 12 years old he was horrified to learn about the state of animals confined in zoos. He started Citizens Lobbying for Animals in Zoos (CLAZ), an organization dedicated to standing up for captive animals and protecting them in the wild.


From Neglect to Refuge…


Brutus and Ursula’s Story.


Brutus and Ursula were two sibling black bears who lived in a cramped and dangerous cage in Roseville’s Royer Park Zoo.

They spent 18 years in a small, crumbling cage on the banks of a flood-prone creek.  Ursula spent her days pacing, slipping in the algae covered concrete while Brutus hung his head lazily from a platform swatting flies and fighting a resident rat for food.

Enraged, Justin calls the mayor to complain, but the mayor tells him Brutus and Ursula would die in their cage because no one cared about two old bears.

Committed to proving the mayor wrong and saving the bears, Justin begans calling zoos and sanctuaries all over the country looking for someone to take the bears.

One agreed -- but needed $250,000 to fund construction of a bear habitat. Undeterred, Justin – now 13 -- started the Roseville Bear Relocation Fund and commits to raise a quarter million dollars.

Three years after the campaign started $250,000 was raised through donations from citizens and local governments. The bears were relocated to a spacious home at the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary.

On the day the bears move to their new home, Brutus dove into his pool for fish, Ursula forged for food in the tall grasses.

The bears lived the the rest of lifes in Folsom surrounded by keepers who treated them with the respect and dignity they deserved.



Royer Park Zoo Closed

$250,000 raised for Bear’s Home.


Accountability and Change…


It started at Sacramento Zoo..


Justin Barker launched Citizens Lobbying for Animals in Zoo (CLAZ) in 1996 to advocate for animals in the Sacramento Zoo who were poorly managed and being housed in improper conditions.

CLAZ started a three month investigation collaborating with zoo keepers and animal welfare organizations to bring attention to the substandard conditions at the zoo.

CLAZ’s investigation was presented to accreditation committee of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and later that year the   committee tabled the Zoo’s accreditation based on inadequate staffing for animal care — making headlines in media.

Our work was instrumentally in the zoo's accreditation been revoked, forcing the zoo to make big changes including our recommendation to close both the polar bear and cheetah exhibits.

The Zoo’s lone Polar bear  was relocated to a 4 acre exhibit in Detroit.

The Zoo’s lone Polar bear was relocated to a 4 acre exhibit in Detroit.



Chimpanzee 2 in a Zoo.jpg

We are building a grassroots movement to ensure zoo’s are well managed, animals are treated with respect and conservation is central priority and zoo must be a refuge.

We need your help.

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