Zoo Plans To Expand Security Improvements
POSTED: 3:35 pm HST March 14, 2008
UPDATED: 8:17 pm HST March 14, 2008
HONOLULU — The city is nearing completion of safety improvements to the Honolulu Zoo’s tiger exhibit, three weeks after a tiger escaped briefly from its compound there.
City taxpayers are spending about $50,000 to enclose the back of the exhibit with fencing.
The zoo has also installed hinges that automatically close on the gates to the tigers’ holding areas. Previously, those hinges have not been required by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which accredits zoos across the country.
The Honolulu Zoo is asking the AZA to change those standards.
“(We want them) to have them mandate this type of device to prevent any future incidents from happening throughout the country,” city Enterprise Services Director Sidney Quintal said.
“Human error is always a factor, so the more we can have safety backups, the more safe we are, certainly,” said Page Else of the Honolulu Zoo.
Berani, the zoo’s only male tiger, walked out of its enclosure Feb. 21, when a zookeeper left two gates open by mistake.
The zookeeper has been disciplined for the oversight, but union rules prohibit the city from disclosing what kind of punishment he received.
“You’re going to have a completely enclosed top here so that there will be no way the animal can escape if the animal were to try to climb out,” Quintal said.
The incident has served as a wake-up call for the facility. The zoo is now looking to make improvements in security to other exhibits of potentially dangerous animals.
“We’re going to make sure that any animal that can cause bodily injury, even to a keeper, we’re going to review all of our procedures. We’re going to leave no stone unturned,” Quintal said.
March 5, 2008: Zoo Beefs Up Animal Fencing
February 23, 2008: Honolulu Zoo Making Changes After Tiger’s Escape
February 22, 2008: Honolulu Zoo Investigates Tiger Escape
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