Local & Regional
5:04 pm
Thu June 3, 2010

Zoo Fined

Tulsa, OK – The Tulsa Zoo gets slapped with a five thousand dollar fine from the Department of Agriculture. This follows the death of a giraffe at the zoo in January. Tests show the animal died of hypothermia.

The zoo was cited for not keeping the giraffe warm, inadequate authority given to the zoo vet and the poor condition of the giraffe barn.

Here is the text of the Zoo's Statement:

The USDA has released their findings after investigating a giraffe death due to hypothermia at the Tulsa Zoo earlier this year.

The 9-year-old giraffe, Amira, died of hypothermia during the extreme cold weather conditions in January. Following procedures, zoo officials notified the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the federal agency through which the Tulsa Zoo is licensed, about the giraffe death. The USDA is responsible for reviewing incidences of animal injury or death. The USDA recently released the results of its investigations into the death of Amira the giraffe and has issued a fine of $5,000.

"We appreciate the diligence of the USDA in investigating this matter," said Terrie Correll, Tulsa Zoo Director. "Although our attempts to warm the giraffe barn at the time of the incident were not successful, we have made progress toward making renovations to the giraffe barn that will prevent excessive cold weather from being a concern again."

The USDA citations indicate the giraffe barn was found not to be structurally sound enough to adequately maintain the temperatures necessary for giraffe.

After the giraffe death, the Tulsa Zoo put together a plan for renovation of the giraffe barn and is working with the City of Tulsa and Tulsa Zoo Friends, Inc. to identify funding for the new structure. Drawings for barn renovations are being finalized, and renovations will include new heating systems, improved doors and new insulation.

The citation also indicated that the authority of the veterinarian was questioned by staff concerning the size of additional heaters needed to raise the temperature in the barn. Correll notes that personnel action was taken in this matter. The Tulsa Zoo is also refining staff training that outlines the role of the zookeeper, the umbrella of authority and also has expanded existing cold weather procedures and animal medical emergency protocols.