Saturday, January 17, 2015

Gorilla Tragedy ... News Article 11.20.14

Written 11.21.14 in reference to this article:

I'm really bothered by the presentation in this article.   

I try not to place blame without balancing all the information I personally know as alleged fact.  I know thats a contradiction, but I got to put alleged in there.  I don't know everything, but apparently in the situation that IS the Zoo, no one does.  

I'm sure my questions and opinions that stem from them, will put off some Keepers that I do talk to, but an Animal was killed, I'm not going to withold from noting anything that doesn't make sense or is questionable.  I do welcome any Staff Member to comment or contact me via email using the "about me" contact option, and provide information that can help me understand differently.

The facts as I see it so far, are:

*The Keeper, was not looking at the door as it was in motion and did not have her hand on the Stop button.

*There have been faulty doors since 2010, causing injuries to both Hasani and Monifa.  

From what I've read, the door that killed Kabibe, is not the same door that has been faulty.  I can't find where I read that, but even if what I thought I read is inaccurate, the accident with Kabibe has not been reported to have been caused by the door being faulty, but by protocol failures (both by Keeper and lacking proper "buddy system") making it impossible to operate doors and see clearly at the same time.

For me, based on what I've read, this is two separate situations.

Since this article focuses on the concerns of the Keepers, I'm mostly going to post about that, but make no mistake, I put blame on the Director and the Curators, foremost.   Curators are the Keepers Managers, it is up to them to make sure the protocol is safe.  If that means battleing it out with Officials above them, or standing there beside their Keepers while shifting at night is done, then so be it.  So, I strongly blame the Animal Management Staff, Curator Corinne MacDonald and whatever title David Bocian is going by now.

I appreciate these Keepers coming forward with the facts that their concerns about the doors were ignored by Management.  But, I also feel its alittle late.    

WHY wasn't this Animal safety issue brought up in the April Investigation that aired via KGO-TV?   With the support of their Union Reps, Staff came forward to bring to light safety issues in regards to their own safety, why wasn't the safety of the Animals included?

The Staff planned to confront Board Members and other officials at the annual ZooFest event, that took place within days of the KGO investigation airing, but it was reported they decided not to because Management had said things would change.

WHY wasn't there a follow-up to that investigation to make sure that these issues had been sufficiently and satisfactorilly remedied?  

WHY didn't Staff get their Union Reps to again mediate in regards to Animal Safety?

I appreciate that the Keepers have been honest about the dangers of the "system" of moving the Gorillas.  

There is a view obstruction noted in the article.  I remember hearing about this screen/panel addition, to allegedly solve the issue of the Gorillas being able to reach the control buttons, which they allegedly had been able to do.

Also noted is that there is a "lone Keeper".

These are the things I don't understand:

Are the Keepers saying that its because of the faulty doors Kabibe was killed?  OR because they were forced to go through shifting procedures with only one Keeper?

I get that the "buddy system" was flawed.  But it was up to the Keepers to be heard.  I get that they tried, but they didn't try hard enough.  Mine is not going to be the popular opinion, but this is it.  This is a job that lives are dependant upon them.  They should have come forward before this happened.  They should have used their "annonymous email" option that was noted in previous articles.  They should have done something to literally "get cages rattled".

I would like to be clear on their position, but regardless, the fact remains,  the Keepers have a Moral obligation to these Animals.  If they can not see properly/without a doubt, what is going on at the doors, they should not complete the task.  THIS issue should have been forced to light as soon as these concerns were felt.  I get the whole, ignoring issue, I get the fear of losing their job, but bottom line, each time a Keeper moved those Animals, they played Russian Roulette with their lives.  And Kabibe lost.

I'm sorry, I know they feel bad.  I know they cared.  No one would want this too happen, but fact is it did. This is not a situation where being ignored and possibly losing your job is the, "oh woe is me" of it.  If you can't see the Animals, you don't do it.  Call the Curator in Charge.  Shout it from the roof.  Do whatever it takes, but don't put lives at risk.  Would these Keepers get in a car with their own child and drive with a blind-fold?  Because according to what they've said, thats basically what they did each day these Animals in their care were moved.

It would appear that if Kabibe had not been killed, this blind-folded practice would still be in effect.  One of the Keepers mentioned in this article I know for a fact has taken the torch from her Curator Superiors and bad mouthed me because of my blogging to other Staff, allegedly threatening them if they talk to me.  In my opinion this is pretty hypocritical seeing as at least I have been a voice for the Animals and the wrongs of the Zoo.  In my opinion being a hypocrite in this situation is in line with being an accessory to the crime.

Every notation in regard to Director Peterson, makes me want to vomit.  Her bringing the photo of her and Kabibe in my opinion is to get an emotional tug at the Commission to shift any blame away from her.  She has long proven to be an awful leader.  She is the top person to blame for this.  She has set up her chain of command so that Keepers are allegedly afraid to even bring up issues to her.  I have heard she allegedly refuses to even speak to certain Keepers or respond to their attempts to contact her.   Word gets to her, she just doesn't care.  I think she fancies herself the Queen and does whatever she pleases.  Problem with that is she doesn't know anything about Animals or the Safety issues surrounding housing them.  That includes the issues in this tragedy, in addition to past safety concerns and the consistant and excessive breaching of the barriers of the Animals homes.  When you have a job you know nothing about executing, you need to differ to those who do.  Many Officials and those at Management level do not listen to the Keepers, and they are considered pretty low on the totem pole, when in actuality, they are the ones with the most important jobs, seeing as this is an Animal based working environment.  Something that is forgotten and forsaken in too many instances.

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