Human Error, Not Zebra, Responsible For National Zoo Attack | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Human Error, Not Zebra, Responsible For National Zoo Attack

Play associated audio
One of the National Zoo's three male zebras, looking conspicuously innocent.
Keith Ivey: http://www.flickr.com/photos/17218700@N00/1097065370
One of the National Zoo's three male zebras, looking conspicuously innocent.

The investigation launched after a zookeeper at the National Zoo was attacked and seriously injured by a zebra last month finds human error led to the incident.

The investigation finds the zookeeper broke protocol by leaving open the gates from the zebra's stall to the adjoining yard. This allowed Gumu, an 800-pound male zebra, to enter the same space as the zookeeper and bite him several times.

The investigation also finds that while protocols are in place to care for the animals, the zoo needs to document training for handlers more thoroughly.

Spokesperson Pamela Baker-Masson says the zookeeper who was injured has worked at the zoo for more than 20 years.

"The person injured was a veteran," Baker-Masson says. "You know he's worked and done this job successfully for many years. So he's well-trained, but we don't have is the documentation of the actual training."

Baker-Masson says a staff member and volunteer rescued the zookeeper by distracting the zebra.

"They were able to communicate well with him and get that zebra shifted away and secure so they could get in there very quickly and come to his aid."

The National Zoo is now conducting an internal audit of management protocols.

Earlier this week, the zoo's director suggested that a shortage of resources has stretched staff too thin and may have been at least partially responsible for the attack.

NPR

Kids' Films And Stories Share A Dark Theme: Dead Mothers

Why do so many animated movies star motherless kids? Sarah Boxer, a graphic novelist, cartoon-lover and mother, talks to NPR's Kelly McEvers about the phenomenon and the message it sends to children.
NPR

What If The World Cup Were Awarded For Saving Trees And Drinking Soda?

We thought you'd get a kick out of seeing how the four teams in the final World Cup matches stack up in global health and development.
NPR

What Will Become Of Obama's Request For Immigration Relief Funds?

NPR's Arun Rath talks to political correspondent Mara Liasson about the chances of a political agreement over how to handle the migration of thousands of Central American children.
NPR

Looking For Free Sperm, Women May Turn To Online Forums

Bypassing commercial sperm banks, thousands are logging on to websites where women can connect with men at no cost. Anecdotes abound, but the scope of the unregulated activity is unclear.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.