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Detroit Zoo Antarctica cruise raises questions

Posted at 7:33 PM, Feb 05, 2016

More than a dozen staffers at the Detroit Zoo were sent on a cruise to Antarctica and it was partly paid for with your tax dollars.

The trip has raised some eyebrows, but the zoo says it's necessary.

The 7 Action News team got a first look at the soon-to-open Penguin Conservation Center at the zoo. The impressive facility opens in April and comes with a multi-million dollar price tag paid-- in part-- by deep pocketed donors.

The zoo was planning to take some of those donors at their own expense on a 10 day cruise to Antarctica.

But when some backed out, the zoo decided to send 18 staffers on the trip of a lifetime, totaling $36,000 in plane tickets. Part of that money comes from the taxpayers.

“This community loves its zoo and they want the zoo to be an exciting cool and progressive place...to do that, to be that, we think it's really important that we do that kind of work,” said Scott Carte, chief life sciences officer at the Detroit Zoo. 

The staffers who went are vital to the new exhibit, Carter says. However, a number of zoo executives-- including the CEO-- went along for the ride.

While some may question the zoo’s spending, they have every right to use that millage money for basically whatever they choose.