≡ Menu

Zoo protocol for escaped animals

A reader asked us what happens at Woodland Park Zoo when an animal escapes, which we think is good information to know. Here’s what the zoo told us:

Woodland Park Zoo is committed to ensuring visitor and public safety; ensuring safety of zoo staff, volunteers and affiliated personnel; and ensuring the safety of the animal collection. Each unit that houses dangerous animals has a plan of action in the event of an animal escape.
When an animal escapes, guests are immediately evacuated from the area and escorted to secured buildings on zoo grounds by the zoo’s emergency response team (veterinarians armed with tranquilizer equipment, zoo firearms team and animal management staff). The zoo’s perimeter is sealed off for safety and reopened after the animal is secured.
Animal escapes are more likely to be a risk to staff and volunteers than to the public. To minimize the risk we have the following training, procedures and meetings:
* Required safety training for staff and volunteers
* Required annual safety tours for staff and volunteers
* Emergency procedures for staff and volunteers
* Monthly safety committee meetings
* A weekly operations meeting which addresses safety issues involving grounds or facilities
* An Emergency Procedures Manual
* An Emergency Response Team (ERT)
* A plan for evacuating the public from the grounds
* Conduct four emergency drills, one is zoo-wide
* Safety training for zookeepers
* Specific animal unit procedures which include safety procedures
* A security staff with three Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)
* Two staff members who are CPR and first aid instructors
* On-going first aid training for front line staff members
* Three trauma kits on the grounds (medical supplies)
* 24 Community Emergency Response Team backpacks (containing construction strength gloves, a first aid kit, flashlights, goggles, hardhat, reflective vest, emergency whistle, and triage tape), and a variety of additional medical supplies