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Zookeeper Followed Correct AZA Procedures

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The city of Springfield was shocked Friday when a zookeeper was killed while working with elephants he has worked with for nearly 30 years. Authorities say, however, Bradford was following correct protection procedures.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The city of Springfield was shocked Friday when a zookeeper was killed while working with elephants he has worked with for nearly 30 years. But, the death today isn’t the first of its kind.

In 2011, a Knoxville Zoo worker was killed by an elephant.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has specific guidelines for protecting zookeepers from large animals.

They require zoos to use what they call a “protective contact” to keep the person physically away from the elephant.

The AZA Procedure Manual says “All institutions must have in place adequate infrastructure to manage and care for elephants with barriers and/or restraints in place to increase employee safety.”

All institutions must have in place and be implementing adequate infrastructure to manage and care for elephants with barriers and/or restraints in place to increase employee safety.

According to Springfield Spokeswoman Cora Scott, John Bradford was behind protective contact.

The Dickerson Park Zoo uses steel beams to separate zookeepers from the elephants.

KOLR10’s Laura Kennedy spoke with an elephant expert from Tampa’s Zoo Friday afternoon.

The expert says the incident is an unfortunate accident and even with protective barriers, there is always a chance something could go wrong while working with 6,000 lb animals.

The AZA also says there will be investigations by regulatory agencies and by the AZA Accreditation Commission.

The Dickerson Park Zoo remains open to visitors, although the elephants are not currently on exhibit.
 
 
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