Teenager gathers more than 130,000 petition signatures to investigate BR Zoo
BATON ROUGE - A teenager has gathered more than 130,000 signatures on a petition that aims to close the Baton Rouge Zoo.
16-year-old Kerregan Layne started the Care2 petition asking for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to investigate and possibly shut down the zoo, citing the fact that 21 animals have died there this year.
Earlier this month, dogs entered the zoo and killed a pair of spot-nosed guenon monkeys. A third monkey was severely injured. In March and April alone, the zoo saw the deaths of a young tiger, two giraffes and a baby golden tamarin.
On April 16, the BR Zoo asked for an audit from its accrediting agency and an investigation by the USDA. The zoo was cleared of wrongdoing in the deaths of the giraffes by that audit. Stress and weather were cited as factors and not poor zookeeping.
Now, the USDA is reportedly investigating the death of the young Malayan tiger, but the girl who started the petition wants the APHIS to dig deeper and even consider closing the zoo.
“Questions have been raised by hundreds of citizens about the competency of the animals' caregivers, and the adequacy of the zoo officials, who are supposed to be monitoring and regulating the care of the creatures in the zoo and maintaining the physical structures,” she writes on her Care2 petition.
Layne also says the audit performed in May should be examined further.
“That ‘investigation’ was headed by other zoos, and found no blame on the part of the BREC BR Zoo,” she writes. “I am creating this petition with the support of my family and friends, and we are asking that the USDA APHIS take action immediately to oversee this zoo and figure out why so many animals are losing their lives, and seriously consider shutting it down if solutions can not be identified.”