Bigger Animals Means Bigger Risk for Zoo Animals and Handlers

Zoo AnimalsWorking with wild animals has always proved to be a dangerous profession, and in recent years the number of attacks by larger mammals seems to be growing steadily higher.  It takes nothing more than common sense to make the connection that working with larger animals means there is a higher danger element.  An animal’s normal temperament can mean little or nothing when it comes to their handler’s safety.

There is no better example for this than the recent death of an elephant handler at a Knoxville zoo.  The handler had been following every safety precaution put in place, including that of working with another handler.  In a bizarre twist of fate, the handler was pinned against a wall of the stall by the animal, seemingly by accident.  The animal had not been acting scared or violent, and immediately obeyed a command by the second handler to back up, freeing the pinned one.  Unfortunately, the handler died later at an area hospital of internal injuries.
This brings back a topic that many people seem to forget, until a circumstance like this happens;  these are wild animals.  The amount of time that they are kept in captivity is  a moot point, and it won’t change their natural instincts.  Even the most well trained animals still resort to their natural instincts, and it is crucial for everyone’s safety that all safety precautions are followed.

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Mark Whysall

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