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Zookeeping - a dangerous profession?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by menagerie guy, 3 Apr 2013.

  1. menagerie guy

    menagerie guy New Member

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    Those of us in the profession know how dangerous the dream of being a zookeeper can really be. We are in daily contact with animals that can kill us – big cats, bears, elephants, killer whales, venomous snakes – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. It is what we do. These animals depend on us for their survival and we accept the inherent risk that goes with daily contact. Check out my BLOG post at: J D Porter Books and tell me if you agree.
     
  2. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    Seriously?

    You need to cut back on the testosterone.

    The zookeeping profession is little more dangerous than many other professions if sensible safety procedures and protocols are followed. By and large the only reason risks are increased to dangerous levels is if somebody does something stupid -to prove how macho they are for instance.

    My opinion's supported by the absolutely miniscule (but still tragic) level of deaths in reputable, well run, zoos worldwide over the last two decades. There are many professions with considerably higher risks of death out there (feel free to choose one if your ego needs it).
     
  3. cleusk

    cleusk Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, those flamingos are a deadly species. With one peck, a single bird can decapitate a keeper. And don't forget those ferocious meerkats. Those things aren't just balls of fur, they're lean, mean fighting machines. And let's not forget the dangerous African penguins, lemurs, and Galapagos tortoises. The large number of victims caused by their mayhem and destruction are staggering. And I don't even want to go into the dangerous animals at the Children's Zoo - like the rabbit, the goat, the sheep, and the chickens. The horrors of what those zookeepers must face there are too terrible to describe.
     
    Last edited: 4 Apr 2013
  4. cleusk

    cleusk Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that being a zookeeper is a dangerous profession. Just follow the safety procedures.
     
  5. FWC

    FWC Well-Known Member

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    I dunno guys, I've been attack by an Argus pheasant once when I had to go into his enclosure. I got some scratches on my leg. I could have died from blood poisoning or something...


    Really though, I do see the point of what the OP is getting across. When I go to feed the elephants during my lunch break in hawaii, or am standing 10 feet away in free contact with my local zoos asian elephant, you do come to realize that there is a certain risk involved. That puny little bullhook you have won't do sweet FA if that elephant has it out for you.

    However elephants and orcas aside, I do agree with the others in that 99.999999% of zoo accidents are do to human error, and aside from free contact with elephants and waterworks with orcas, zoo keeping is a rather safe profession.
     
  6. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    Interesting the reactions this post has gotten.
    Defensive much?

    Whether or not @menagerieguy is a bit in love with the danger, it is there. Following safety protocols can reduce risk but not eliminate it. Working with an elephant is not like working at a call center or being a stock broker.
    I have known several capable keepers killed or seriously injured in the line of duty. Of course it is dangerous.

    I suspect that the keepers most likely to be hurt are those who deny that there is any danger.
     
  7. mark77

    mark77 Well-Known Member

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    I have sadly known more zoo workers who have died on their journey to and from work than when inside the zoo.
     
  8. cleusk

    cleusk Well-Known Member

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    Not defensive. Just being sarcastic since the poster seems to be acting like Steve Irwin on one of his adventures. "Oh, look at the tiger! It's so dangerous! Let's see if we can lay down next to it, shall we?"
     
  9. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Suddenly I have the urge to watch Fierce Creatures; been a while since I saw that film.... :p

    Rollo Lee: It's an anteater, not a maneater!
    Sydney Lotterby: What would you be saying if it went over there,
    jumped into that pram? What would you be saying to the child's
    mother now?
    Rollo Lee: I'd be saying, "Madam, you are the victim of an 8 billion
    to one chance: a leaping anteater. An evolutionary mutant
    previously unknown to science."
     
  10. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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  11. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    I love the words of a snakekeeper:

    wild is not dangerous
    improper handling is dangerous