Pittsburgh Zoo officials address animal deaths

PITTSBURGH — The CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium addressed recent animal deaths on Monday.

During a press briefing, the Pittsburgh Zoo & aquarium’s CEO Jeremy Goodman addressed the recent deaths of five zoo animals, three of which died just this month.

“There certainly was no human error associated with any of these, no miscalculated drugs.” Said Jeremy Good the CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium.

Goodman explained that after both internal and external review they found no human error played a role in any of these animals’ deaths. On average the zoo said between 15 to 25 mammals die each year.

However, the timing of these recent deaths has been difficult and forced the zoo to close just a few weeks ago so staff could meet with grief counselors.

“Anybody who works at the zoo knows that death is a part of the natural life cycle of all animals but doesn’t make it any easier,” Goodman said.

In the past seven months there have been five animal deaths at the zoo:

The Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium said it performs as many as 175 surgical procedures a year, but each presents an unknown risk.

“We know it has certain risks. We know that wild animals unfortunately hide their symptoms very frequently until they’re quite severe,” Goodman said.

Still, the recent deaths are raising concern after the zoo lost its accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 2015. Channel 11 News reached out to the association’s president to see if this will impact the reaccreditation process.

“The fact that animals have died is not unusual. The question would be are their unusual circumstances or some kind of connection,” Ashe explained.

The association said the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium has not reapplied for accreditation, but when it does it will be evaluated on several things including, animal wellbeing, emergency safety, finances, and staff education. However, it is unlikely that these deaths would prevent the zoo from regaining accreditation.

“Jeremy knows what needs to be done and has been doing a great job,” Ashe said.

The zoo has now returned to regular off-season hours.

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