Buy a cockroach, help the zoo

The San Francisco Zoo created an Adopt-a-Cockroach fundraiser for singles to send to their exes.

Sarah Pineda, Writer

Single students can now squash previous relationship woes by adopting a cockroach or scorpion under the name of their ex-partner. A certificate of adoption and a heart-shaped box with plastic cockroaches arrive in the mail for the ex-partner.

For Valentine’s Day, anyone can adopt a Madagascar hissing cockroach or a giant hairy scorpion from the San Francisco Zoo for $25. The proceeds will help further the San Francisco Zoological Society’s mission to “connect people to wildlife, inspire caring for nature and advance conservation action,” according to the San Francisco Zoo website.

Responsible for raising funds for the zoo every year in creative ways, Tim Wu, vice president of philanthropy, created Adopt-a-Cockroach specifically for Valentine’s Day. Since then, the fundraiser has gained attention from publications like Time, Cosmopolitan, Fox Business, AARP and Perez Hilton.


With no distinct audience or age group in mind for the fundraiser, the zoo has received unexpected orders from people willing to mail a Valentine’s gift to an ex.

“We received one order for five cockroach adopts from a 78-year-old man. We have lots of folks buying cockroaches and scorpions for their actual Valentines that they love. There are lots of bug lovers out there,” said the zoo spokeswoman.

Adopt-A-Cockroach has drawn popularity from outside the United States. The fundraiser has spurred orders from London, Ecuador, Canada, South Africa, Belgium, Ireland and Mexico.


“We have never done such a light-hearted and silly fundraiser. This is the first, and given its global popularity, we’re likely to do it again next year,” said the zoo spokeswoman.

For those currently in a relationship, the San Francisco Zoo offers adopting from an array of animals such as the red panda, magellanic-penguin, ring-tail lemur and snow leopard.

Some students disagree with the fundraiser’s approach to past relationships, saying that it stands against the meaning of Valentine’s Day.

“I think they could have come up with better ideas because Valentine’s Day is all about love and selflessness and to show how much you care,” said Annabelle Chinchen, senior intercultural studies major. “Although the intentions behind it are to raise money for the zoo, I just think sending cockroaches to your ex is not very respectful.”

However most students think the fundraiser is a fun idea for the zoo to raise money at this romance-filled time of year.

“I think its funny, I think it can be used as a joke and a fun way to raise money its harmless,” said Douglas Smith junior Christian ministries major.

Though the zoo is not the first place many people think to donate, the fundraiser is a creative way to bring more attention to their cause.

“I think its funny and a smart way of getting people involved. Not many people think about donating to the zoo, but when you have something fun like this, and very cultural relevant, I think its smart and clever,” said Kristina Lowen, sophomore biblical and theology major.

Some even considered sending a Valentine’s Day cockroach to someone in their past.

“I have had a bad ex in the past and I think he deserves a cockroach,” said Meredith Camburn, senior elementary education major.

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