Virginia Zoo Bars Volunteer Access to Exotic Animals

March 12, 2013

Volunteers at the Virginia Zoo can no longer work with exotic animals.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that the zoo in Norfolk recently dropped its Keeper Aide program. The program allowed volunteers to help prepare meals and feed tigers, bears and other exotic animals. They also helped clean habitats and move large animals between exhibits and holding cells.

The zoo established a new program called the Behavior Enrichment and Animal Resource Squad. Volunteers will work with smaller education animals.

The zoo is a public-private partnership between the nonprofit Virginia Zoological Society and the city.

Zoo spokesman Winfield Danielson says the change is due to safety and liability concerns.

Last week, a lion mauled to death a 24-year-old intern at an exotic animal park in California.

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