Target: Lance Vervoort, Hamilton City Council General Manager
Goal: Don’t allow zookeepers to go inside zoo animal enclosures while animals are in them.
A zookeeper was killed by a tiger while inside its enclosure. If staff members continue to go inside with animals, many more zookeepers may be senselessly killed.
Curator Samantha Lynda Kudeweh was attacked when she was cleaning a tiger’s enclosure. While it has not been publicly stated whether or not Kudeweh was allowed to go inside the enclosure with animals at the zoo, she recently stated in an online blog that one of her favorite parts about working at her job was interacting with the animals she worked with, indicating that keepers going inside enclosures with animals is likely a common practice at this particular zoo.
Lance Vervoort, one of the zoo’s owners, is quoted as saying, “Although there is an inherent risk for zoo professionals who manage big cats like Oz, there is no ongoing risk…” However, many zoo professionals believe that Oz attacked the zookeeper out of “natural instinct,” something that a tiger will never lose. There have also been other incidents in the past where zookeepers were killed by tigers, including Sarah McClay who was viciously attacked at the South Lake Wild Animal Park in Cumbria, England just last year. Such incidents are a clear reminder as to why allowing staff to work one on one with these animals is both risky and unsafe.
Sign this petition and urge zoo officials not to allow staff members to go inside enclosures with animals. Such an occurrence can easily end in a deadly catastrophe.
Dear Mr. Vervoort,
As you know, a zookeeper was recently killed while she was cleaning an enclosure. It is important that staff members be forbidden from going inside with animals in the future in order to better ensure that other workers remain safe.
Although it has not been confirmed whether or not Lynda Kudeweh was authorized to go inside with the tiger, the fact that she wrote on your website that her favorite part of her job was the “opportunities to interact with other species one on one..” indicates that she was likely permitted to do so on a regular basis.
While you are under the impression that there is not an “ongoing risk” when it comes to walking inside enclosures with large felines, many zoo professionals have said that the tiger acted by means of its “natural instincts.” Since you cannot rid tigers of their natural instincts, such an “ongoing risk” is always present. Furthermore, a handful of zookeepers at different zoos have been attacked by big cats in the past, reaffirming why allowing this practice to continue would be both risky and unsafe.
It is for these reasons that I urge you to not allow staff members to go inside enclosures with animals for any reason. While these animals are likely very lovable, the wild instincts they display unfortunately can sometimes lead to people meeting their demise.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Keith Roper