ShareThis Page
News

Recent zoo inspections went well

| Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2002, 12:00 p.m.

Neither Monday's fatal attack on a keeper by an elephant nor the recent deaths of eight sharks could have been predicted from recent federal inspection reports of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

The most recent inspection of the zoo by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in October found the Highland Park facility in compliance with all federal regulations.

The zoo is accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, which conducts inspections every five years. Neither zoo officials nor the association would make the accreditation reports available.

Jackson Andrews, director of operations and husbandry at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, audited the zoo two years ago. He said yesterday that he found no major problems.

"We talked to the staff and spent a couple of days there, and we didn't see anything that was unethical in any way," Andrews said.

Valerie McDonald Roberts, a member of the zoo's board of directors and the Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds, said she doesn't think the elephant attack or the deaths of the sharks indicate any systemic problems.

"Just because a person gets in a fender bender doesn't mean that person is a bad driver," she said. "That could mean it was just a freak accident."

Earlier USDA inspections cited only minor problems at the zoo. Those problems apparently were corrected, according to the October inspection.

The USDA in April recommended that the zoo fix a leak in a bear exhibit that was making the floor slippery. Old pipe valves in the exhibit also posed a trip and fall risk, that inspection found.

The inspection also said the zoo needed to fix perimeter fencing so outside animals could not enter and pose a disease threat to the zoo's animals.

In October 2001, federal inspectors faulted the zoo for building an exhibit that allowed the Golden Lion Tamarins to pose a threat to other animals.

A December 2000 inspection found that the ropes and vines in the primate enclosure had deteriorated so badly they posed a threat, especially for the gorillas. Also, three sheep and four goats didn't have adequate shelter from the weather for about three hours each day.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me