New zoo inspection confirms problems

New zoo inspection confirms problems

February 4th, 2011 by Pam Sohn in Local - Breaking News

A Jan. 26-27 federal inspection at the Chattanooga Zoo confirms problems that could have contributed to at least four of 10 recent animal deaths there, according to documents released Friday.

Inspector Susanne Brunkhorst, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, focused much of her three-page inspection report on two marmosets that died after being without food for at least two days and the snow leopard that lost two cubs while locked out of shelter in bad weather.

But she also noted feeding problems that she saw herself - including finding only one bale of hay for 15 animals and zoo logs noting for two weeks that hay stores were low.

The inspection came after USDA received an anonymous complaint and at the invitation of Zoo Director Darde Long after Hank the chimp became the seventh animal to die in a month.

Zoo Director Darde Long, in her response to USDA, acknowledged some management problems, and expressed regret about a scheduling oversight that left two marmosets without food for at least two days. But Long told USDA she will appeal the handling of animals violation noted in connection with the snow leopard's dead cubs.

Read the full story in Saturday's Chattanooga Times Free Press.