One of the challenges we face as an institution is emergency preparedness. Documentation of an emergency plan and evidence of drills on that plan are required by our Accrediting body, the Association of Zoo and Aquariums. In addition, it is our ethical responsibility to protect the animals in our care, as well as staff and visitors and, finally, it is just good business. To that end we are always prepared to react to an emergency, from a lost child to a weather event. We drill multiple times a year on various aspects of our emergency plan and are confident we have the tools and training to react to virtually any challenge.
When it comes to the animals in our care, the foundation of our plan is prevention. When we select the species we will hold, careful thought is given to our ability to properly care for them. This incudes not only daily care and veterinary care, but also how we would manage them in an emergency situation, particularly related to weather. Therefore, we critically analyze the habitats that will be the homes of our charges to be sure that they are appropriate, not only for their daily life, but also in the event of a storm such as we are about to experience.
So let me assure you that the marvelous creatures we care for will be protected in the best possible manner during the coming storm, not as a result of last minute decisions, but as the result of extensive planning, practice and constant review.
- Larry Sorel, County Zoo Director