During that incident, an animal keeper at the zoo had parts of two fingers bit off and a third finger injured by chimpanzees at the zoo.
Anne James said they are not going to release the name of the injured employee, citing that releasing the woman’s name would be a HIPA violation.
“Out of respect for the privacy of our staff member and their family, we will not be releasing the name of the employee involved at this time,” James said in release sent to the media on Tuesday.
The woman involved in the incident is home, but not at work. The worker was not in the chimpanzee exhibit at the time of the incident. James said the woman that was injured also had previous experience working around wild animals.
Following the incident, the woman was taken to a Denver hospital. James said they had hoped that the fingers could be reattached, but surgeons were unable to reattach the fingers.
James said at this point there is nothing to report except that an internal investigation has been started at the center.
“We are not through with the investigation yet,” said James. “Until the investigation is done, we really can’t release anything.”
James did say that a representative with the USDA was at the zoo on Tuesday collecting information regarding the incident. Since the center is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), information from any investigation is sent and reviewed by the AZA. If the AZA does conduct an investigation and finds that a zoo is at fault, the zoo could lose its accreditation.
“Riverside Discovery Center takes safety very seriously. Our biggest priority is to provide the safest environment for our staff, visitors and animals,” James said. “When this incident occurred, neither members of the public nor any other staff members were ever in any danger.”
James said information collected from the internal investigation and what is collected by the USDA would be sent to the AZA. She said after the AZA reviews the findings and if the agency wants more information, it would conduct its own investigation.
She said it could take a month before the RDC is notified on whether the AZA plans to conduct its own investigation.
“Until we know what is going to happen, because of this incident, there is really nothing more that we can say,” said James.
Story Credit Here