Before zookeeper died, Inspectors raised questions

Posted 6 months ago

By Stan Unruh

A team of inspectors questioned the handling of aggressive elephants at the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield a year before a zookeeper was killed by one of the

Dickerson Park Zoo

Dickerson Park Zoo

elephants.

But zoo officials said Monday they dealt with issues raised by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums long before zookeeper John Bradford died last Friday. Bradford was killed when an elephant that was being moved suddenly lunged forward and crushed him.

The AZA’s inspectors recommended that zoos use barriers and restraints with elephants that display aggression toward an elephant care provider. Patience and another elephant had a history of aggression.

The zoo is conducting a review of safety procedures involving all animals because of Bradford’s death.