Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Calgary Zoo in Big Trouble

We've written about the Calgary Zoo here before. Not a stellar reputation. Now, the results of a long-awaited audit shows that this place truly sucks and needs a lot of improvement.

To many people, the number of animal fatalities at the Calgary Zoo in newer years seemed very high. A hippo passed away following a long, horrible transfer from another zoo. Over forty stingrays died following somebody messing up the oxygen levels in the tank. A huge spiral-horned goat got trapped in a toy rope and choked.

A study released by the associations that accredit zoos across North America said that the occurrence of deaths was not a fluke. It reported that human error surrounded more deaths than at any other zoo and forced immediate plans be taken to make sure of the animals’ safety. Woodyer wanted Lanthier to quit and for the zoo’s accreditation to be taken away. She additionally announced the City of Calgary to quit funding the zoo unless it could demonstrate the issues have been resolved.

The audit, created a picture of aging, crumbling institutions and outlined vital communication problems between staff and managers. For example, there was a higher-than expected number of bats passing away each year between 2004 and 2008, but the zoo didn’t do anything to decide why. Instead, it brought a new bat species into the exact place in the year 2009 — twenty-five of those creatures also passed away. There were also reports that the zoo may have concentrated too hard on enhanced visitor experiences without being sure that exhibits were up to par — something that could have led to many of the deaths.

The stingrays passed away right after an interactive display opened that let visitors put their hands on them. The study reported that the zoo was not properly able to handle the marine animals. The audit was requested after a capybara, a giant central American rodent, was pounded to death when a staff member shut a hydraulic door.

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