The following articles from the Chicago Tribune and the Sun Times, on the Lincoln Park Zoo, present great opportunities questioning holding wild animals captive for human entertainment.
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August 9, 2006 Wednesday
METRO ; ZONE C; Pg. 3
Zoo fined over animal accidents;
Bad enclosures led to 3 monkeys' deaths
By Josh Noel, Tribune staff reporter.
The Lincoln Park Zoo has paid a $3,000 fine after the U.S. Department of Agriculture ruled the zoo responsible for a pair of high-profile mishaps last summer, one of which led to the deaths of three monkeys.
Levied in February, the fine was paid promptly, USDA spokesman Darby Holladay said.
"The matter is considered closed by the USDA," and no investigations into the zoo are ongoing, Holladay said.
The zoo has been the source of several pieces of bad news during the last two years, including the deaths of three elephants, two gorillas and a camel and an accident that led to a small ape having an arm amputated. The incidents sparked protests outside the zoo and led zoo President Kevin Bell to offer his resignation, which the zoo's board refused.
Though the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service investigated on several fronts, it only blamed the zoo for the deaths of the three Francois langur monkeys in May 2005 and a gorilla attack on a keeper in July 2005.
The zoo was guilty of not having proper barriers in the gorilla habitat or improper enclosures for the monkeys, Holladay said.
Other complaints against the zoo, filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, were not "deemed valid," he said.
"They followed all regulations regarding all the other animal deaths," Holladay said.
Zoo spokesman Kelly McGrath said the zoo asked for the investigation to help with its own oversight.
"Obviously, the animals' deaths are a tragedy, and we're never going to feel good about that," she said. "But we do feel good that long before the report and fines, we resolved the situation and these issues."
The monkeys died, she said, after consuming leaves from a yew tree just outside their habitat. The tree was removed last year, and a full inventory was taken of all plants on the zoo grounds, McGrath said. No other plants were removed.
"We knew a mistake had been made, and we immediately removed the plant not only from the exhibit but from the zoo grounds," she said.
The zookeeper was bitten in an outdoor gorilla habitat as the result of an employee's error, McGrath said.
Two employees who work in the Regenstein Center for African Apes were suspended, but both still work at the zoo.
Chicago Sun Times
August 9, 2006 Wednesday
NEWS; Pg. 20
PETA reveals Lincoln Park Zoo's $3,000 fine: Feb. penalty for monkey deaths, gorilla attack
Andrew Herrmann, The Chicago Sun-Times
Lincoln Park Zoo has been fined $3,000 in connection with the deaths of three Vietnamese monkeys and an incident in which a gorilla attacked a keeper.
The fines were levied in February but were revealed Tuesday by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and confirmed by zoo officials.
U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors found that the zoo failed to "protect three non-human primates from injury" in the case of the monkeys, called langurs, which died in May of 2005 after they ate some toxic yew plants growing near their exhibit.
THOUGHT PROBE WAS ONGOING
In July of 2005, the zoo, according to inspectors, failed to properly supervise its employees in a situation that led to a 450-pound gorilla attacking a 32-year-old zookeeper intern. Zoo spokeswoman Kelly McGrath said the zoo suspended two employees in that case. The intern suffered what were described as minor injuries at the hands of Kwan, a silverback gorilla.
McGrath said the zoo did not announce the fines in February because zoo officials thought the federal investigation into Lincoln Park practices was not complete. A spokesman for the Agriculture Department said its investigation is now finished and that there will be no more fines.
'WANT . . . NEW MANAGEMENT'
McGrath said the zoo is still awaiting the final report. Agriculture Department spokesman Darby Holladay would not immediately provide a copy of the report.
PETA director Debbie Leahy accused the zoo of trying to hide "bad news" from the public and, while calling the fines "a slap on the wrist,'' said they indicate poor management of the North Side facility.
"Negligence played a part in the deaths of these animals,'' said Leahy, calling for the resignation of zoo president Kevin Bell. "We want to see new management.''
The zoo has been the subject of intensive examination and criticism by animal rights groups following a rash of animal deaths there, including three elephants. Following the deaths of the langurs, Bell offered to resign but the zoo board asked him to stay.
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Date: Wed Aug 9 12:53:06 2006