Outside experts absolve BR Zoo of wrongdoing in animal deaths
EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH - Reports from several outside experts have concluded that BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo is not at fault for recent high-profile animal deaths.
The conclusion was arrived at after an extensive audit by the American Association of Zoos, the United States Department of Agriculture and a long-time veterinarian. Each audit was conducted independently at the request of the Baton Rouge Zoo, according to BREC.
Since the start of 2016, eighteen animals have died at the zoo with the most recent happening in April when a juvenile Malayan tiger died.
“The incidents of the last several months appear to be a string of unfortunate events that have no common thread. There did not appear to be a culture of laxity in the events that led to the giraffe deaths as the response to these events was swift and appropriate,” said the AZA audit team. “The tiger death was an unpreventable event due to the deep chested animals being predisposed to torsion. The mitigation of the dog entrance to the zoo seems appropriate in this difficult environment,” said the report.
The zoo has been granted a one-year extension to complete the AZA accreditation process that the zoo is required to complete every five years. The extension was given due to recent historic flooding in the region. The zoo will also remain subject to annual surprise inspections by the USDA.
“When animals at our Zoo die, we are just as upset as everyone else – our keepers form bonds that are just as strong as the bonds people have with their own pets, even more so sometimes,” said Sam Winslow, Assistant Director of the Baton Rouge Zoo. “We take our responsibility as caretakers of all of our animals very seriously and our top priority has, and will continue to be, making sure our animals are provided with the best possible care.”