Elliot Feuerstein is a Southern California entrepreneur who serves as Mira Mesa Shopping Center officer and oversees complex real estate development projects. Based in San Diego, CA, Elliot Feuerstein maintains a strong philanthropic presence and contributes to the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.
Tracing its origins back to animal exhibits arranged by Dr. Harry Wegeforth for the 1915 Panama-California International Exposition, the Zoological Society of San Diego was incorporated the following year and moved to Balboa Park, its present location, in 1922. A decade later, the growing zoo encountered a major financial test that almost led to its dissolution.
Owing more than $6,000 in back taxes to the county, the zoo held an auction that aimed to sell all its animals and related fixtures and inventory, “including hay for the elephants.” With no bids tendered and the future of the zoo uncertain, penalty process assessor James Hervey Johnson announced the sale of the zoo to the state under a statutory delinquency process.
Upon receiving the news, manager of the zoo, Belle Benchley, was instructed to continue upkeep of all the animals and facilities as usual until ownership had been sorted out. The end result was a better-organized and fiscally solvent zoo that, under state of California management, continued to expand its leadership role in conservation and wildlife education.
San Diego, California, Philanthropist Elliot Feuerstein.