Taking Care of His Zoo Family
This was the time of the Great Depression, and although Dr. Harry had won the battle to keep the Zoo open, he had to continue to maintain it. And it was a struggle. It was all Dr. Harry and Belle Benchley could do to find proper food to feed the animals and supplies to run the operations. They were incredibly resourceful, though, and managed to make ends meet—once again, due to Dr. Harry’s charming but insistent tenacity and his shrewd trades and fund-raising abilities. He was even known to prowl the San Diego waterfront to beg fish from the fishermen to feed sea lions and bears, beseech farmers to donate hay, and collect second-grade fruits and vegetables from produce markets and haul the boxes into the Zoo himself. Although he would never admit it, when funds were short he would also make up the difference with donations from his own pocket.