AZA Statement On Tragic Incident at Dickerson Park Zoo

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Statement by AZA Executive Director Kristin L. Vehrs Regarding the Tragic Incident at the Dickerson Park Zoo

Oct 11, 2013

Silver Spring,Maryland (October 11, 2013) – Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Executive Director Kristin L. Vehrs issued the following statement regarding the tragic incident that occurred this morning at the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri:

“We extend our deepest sympathies to our friends and colleagues at the Dickerson Park Zoo and to the family of John Bradford for their tragic loss.

The safety of staff and visitors at AZA-accredited facilities is of the utmost importance.  In due course, there will be investigations by regulatory agencies and by the AZA Accreditation Commission,but right now we’re focused on comforting our colleagues as they cope with this tragic situation.”

For reference, the AZA Standards for Elephant Management and Care can be accessed here: AZA Accreditation Standards and Related Policies (pages 26-55)

The AZA policy on Maximizing Occupational Safety of Elephant Care Professionals at AZA-accredited and AZA-certified Facilities can be found here:

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. To learn more, visit

Media Inquiries: Steve Feldman, AZA, Senior Vice President of External Affairs; (301) 244-3352;



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