Few family outings can ever compare to the trips that we take to the zoo. Zoos are fascinating places (especially for kids), and can have a profound impact on the way children begin to understand the world around them. Most zoos are run by caring, professional staff which are conscientious in providing their animals with clean, natural habitats and healthy nutrition. Zoos that do things any other way risk being liable for any pitfalls that their customers might encounter, whether it is caused by animal encounters or anything else.
Where the Deer and the Antelope Play
Even the best of zoos cannot 100 percent guarantee the safety of their patrons, and in many cases of animal-related injuries, it is the human who has done the wrong thing – you may recall newspaper editor Phil Bronstein, who had his big toe bitten off by a Komodo Dragon while visiting the L.A. Zoo with then-wife Sharon Stone. But that’s because he had gone into its environment, which makes it hard to sue anybody over such things.
Zookeepers Must Approach With Caution
Injuries can be minor, as in a recent incident in Knoxville, when a 400-lb. baby camel tried to jump a fence, wedging a four-year old boy against it. (They were both fine.) San Franciscans were doubly alarmed when a 240-lb. Siberian tiger escaped the zoo on two different occasions in 2006 and 2007. The second time, it was shot by police, after having killed one person and injured two others.
On a numerical scale, it is actually zoo employees who have the better chance of being victimized by one of the creatures in their charge. At the same aforementioned Knoxville zoo, a zookeeper was killed by an elephant who squashed her against a barn wall, an act that was described as “non-aggressive”. SeaWorld in Orlando has also seen its share of tragedy, including a fatality last year in which a killer whale drowned its trainer in front of a group of horrified tourists.