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5 Top Accidents That Occur in Zoos


Zoos are safe places to visit with the family and kids. They offer a learning and fun environment where people, young and old, have a close encounter with exotic animal species including those from the wild.

But accidents do happen even to a zoo with the most stringent security measures. For example, people including kids can fall into the animal enclosures either when they get too close or when lapses occur. Some accidents ended up with no one getting hurt while other incidents don’t end up too well as zoo keepers are forced to kill the animal involved.


The year 2016 saw one of the most horrifying zoo accidents involving a child who fell into a gorilla enclosure in the Cincinnati Zoo. Unfortunately, the incident resulted in the killing of the 17-year-old gorilla named Harambe to protect the child.


Back in 2012, a two-year old boy named Maddock was killed by African wild dogs after he fell into their enclosure in the Pittsburgh Zoo. Three dogs immediately went to him and attacked the boy. Although the zoo workers were able to drive away the others, one dog did not leave the boy’s body and was shot by the police.

In cases where the zoo is found negligent in securing the facility, visitors have the right to file a legal action against the administrator. According to Curtis Quay, a personal injury attorney in San Diego, zoos have the full responsibility of protecting the people visiting these facilities and they are liable for any lapses that endanger the lives of humans.


In 2010, a major shocker that occurred in the famous SeaWorld in Orlando Florida involved a whale trainer. Tilikum considered to be the largest killer whale in captivity was with his trainer Dawn Brancheau after a stage show when unexpectedly, it just seized the woman and pulled her into the water. Other trainers present at that time attempted to distract the attention of the whale so it could free Brancheau but their efforts failed. The trainer died of drowning and suffered broken bones and severed spinal cord.


China had its own zoo accidents in the past. The Beijing Zoo, in particular, had recorded several incidents in the past specifically in 2006, 2007 and 2009. The 2009 accident involved the panda Gu Gu and a man named Zhang who jumped into the panda enclosure to retrieve the toy of his child. The man’s legs were badly wounded and zoo workers had to use tools to pry the panda’s jaws open.

In the same year, a woman entered the polar bear enclosure at the Berlin Zoo. The bear was being fed that time but upon seeing the woman, the animal bit her back. Rescuers were able to pulled the woman to safety and immediately brought her to the nearest hospital.


The Singapore Zoo recorded a shocking incident in 2008 when three white Bengal tigers mauled a zoo cleaner to death. The 32-year-old man was walking through a moat surrounding the tigers’ enclosure holding a broom and a plastic bucket.


The year 2007 was not that lucky for the San Francisco Zoo. It was on Christmas day when a Siberian tiger named Tatiana escaped its cage and attacked three men killing one of them. Some 25 people witnessed the incident. Reports have it that the tiger apparently went over a 20-foot wall and 15-foot moat. Authorities earlier feared that four of the five tigers in the zoo were able to escape but they later learned that only one was on the loose.