Statement by Massimo Bergamini, Executive Director of Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums following an incident at the Cincinnati Zoo over the weekend.

“We’re saddened by this weekend’s events at the Cincinnati Zoo. Our thoughts are with the Zoo staff and community. We know that today they are dealing with a terrible loss, but they should take solace knowing that they did absolutely the right thing in the circumstances. Their professionalism likely saved the life of a young child.

While these kinds of incidents generate a lot of attention thankfully they are, when measured against the number of visitors in accredited zoos in Canada and the US, very rare and isolated occurrences

For Canada’s accredited zoo and aquarium community they are a reminder of how quickly accidents can happen and of the importance of sound, tested safety protocols and emergency procedures.

As part of our accreditation inspection process, CAZA member institutions have to demonstrate that they have in place proper and formal risk management and safety protocols.

In addition to having policies and procedures in place, this involves holding regular emergency simulation exercises to ensure that in the event of an incident, trained Emergency Response Personnel are mobilized, know exactly what to do, and have the necessary equipment on hand as well as the authority to act.

And while these incidents are rare, we take them very seriously. Much like the global airline sector, we look to incidents as teachable moments that help us ensure that our systems and procedures improve continuously.

CAZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are required to conduct an incident analysis in the event of major occurrences involving injuries to staff or visitors as well as animal fatalities, and to report back to the National Office.

CAZA reviews the incident report, examines whether the incident was the result of systemic problems and follows up with the institution as necessary. Any findings of a systemic and general nature may be addressed through revisions to the accreditation standards.”

SOURCE Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA)

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