Door fault sparked panda scare: Keeper fled after zoo safety breach
Earlier this year details of the near-fatal accident were leaked to the media, sparking a full inquiry.
An image showed a member of staff at Edinburgh Zoo frantically fleeing as the adult male bear, Yang Guang, followed closely behind her.
After initially denying the incident, chiefs finally admitted it had happened, prompting an investigation by the zoo’s licensing authority, City of Edinburgh Council.
Now, a report obtained through a Freedom of Information request reveals that the enclosure had maintenance issues at the time and staff had not adhered to safety procedures properly.
The investigation into the near-miss in July last year found that “one of the slides in the panda area was not closinga properly and required maintenance”.
The zoo, home to the UK’s only giant pandas, uses numerous sliding doors to move the animals around their enclosure when keepers need to get in for cleaning.
The report highlighted several points including “the increased risk of human error when multiple people work at the same time with a large dangerous -animal”.
It continued that there was “a need to review current working procedures and practices with this in mind and a need to implement changes as soon as possible. One of the slides in the panda area was not closing properly and required maintenance.
An image showed a member of staff at Edinburgh Zoo frantically fleeing
“It became unclear after a disciplinary meeting whether the external door to the area was closed or open.”
The report said it was “clear” that if the procedures had been followed the accident would not have occurred, adding that “the door to the outside should be secured shut prior to opening any slides to move the pandas around”.
A spokesman for the Royal Zoological Society Scotland said: “We take welfare of animals and staff extremely seriously and follow strict safety procedures, with any incidents duly reported to the City of Edinburgh Council.
“Staff reported a near-miss last year which was fully investigated and Edinburgh Council were kept informed throughout the process. No staff or -animals were physically harmed during the incident.”
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