The Austin Zoo – Recent Controversy and New Board Members

Austin Zoo

The Austin Zoo is an accredited non-profit rescue zoo in southwest Travis County, Texas. Located west of downtown Austin, it features an extensive collection of animals from around the world. A recent article covered the Zoo’s recent controversy over the firing of an Animal Care Manager after a dispute with another employee. Ex-zookeepers are threatening legal action over the distemper outbreak at the zoo. And, a recent article addressed the lack of voting members on the board of directors.

Animal care manager fired after incident with employee

The Texas Department of Agriculture recently found that the Austin Zoo’s animal care manager had mistreated an employee. It also found that zoo employees had been bullied by Ford. Although the zoo’s board has not commented on individual cases of firing, it has received several letters alleging that the zoo failed to keep proper standards for animal care. In addition to the letter writers, the zoo’s employment attorney also drafted a response to the letters. However, no board member responded to the letters. Ultimately, the zoo board did not take action and Miklaw was fired.

The American-Statesman reported the story on Monday. The story was based on interviews with twenty-four current and former zookeepers. Many asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions in their careers. Zoo CEO Patti Clark also declined to comment. The Austin American-Statesman obtained documents and board meeting minutes for the story. Several employees expressed concerns about the zoo’s leadership, which made the story even more troubling.

Zoo’s board lacks voting members

After social media outcry over claims of animal mistreatment, the CEO of the Austin Zoo has stepped down as president of the board. Despite the change, Clark will remain executive director. The new board members are all zoo employees, including the current president and the executive director. The group has grown to seven from five. In addition, the board has elected four interim chairs and a governance committee.

The other vacancies on the board include the Chairman of the Board, Vice Chairman of the Zoo, and the Vice President for Development and Community Relations. These positions are often filled by retired executives. Board members must also have experience in animal care, including having worked with and/or studied with animals in the zoo. This may be the best time to make your nomination. After all, your nomination will be considered an endorsement of the organization.

Ex-zookeepers threaten lawsuit

A letter written last summer by six former zookeepers sparked a firestorm of controversy. The letter criticized animal care, management, and more. It said zookeepers were being retaliated against for speaking out. The story, based on accounts from current and former zookeepers, also cited an aging monkey kept alive for years despite its apparent inability to move.

The letter was accompanied by a slide presentation that showed the animals in a state of misery. The zoo board immediately decided to conduct a formal investigation and dismiss the letter writers. Clark drafted a letter in response, but did not send it to the letter writers. After Miklaw’s firing, a full investigation concluded, which Clark attributed to “unprofessional behavior.”

Distemper outbreak at zoo

The Austin Zoo is on the alert following a distemper outbreak in its wildlife. The virus is typically associated with dogs but is also found in other animal species. The Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary were previously hit with a distemper outbreak, which resulted in the death of a 3-year-old lioness. The zoo staff believes that she got the disease from eating an infected raccoon, and they immediately implemented new cleaning protocols. They also vaccinated their big cats.

Vaccinations are available for dogs and ferrets, but the vaccines do not protect big cats. Five out of six animals that died were vaccinated, which means that a distemper outbreak could spread to humans. As the outbreak continues, workers at the North Texas refuge are working to learn more about the virus and help to prevent further spread of it. Meanwhile, they are caring for the ill animals and working with veterinarians to prevent the disease from spreading to other animals.

Criticism of the Zoo’s leadership

In recent years, the zoo has come under criticism for several mistakes. Some were minor, but others may have had severe consequences for the animals. The Austin American-Statesman recently investigated the zoo’s leadership by interviewing 24 current or former employees. In the ensuing investigation, the Austin-American Statesman revealed the in-fighting between zookeepers and the zoo’s top management.

The board hired an employment attorney and public relations firm to address the controversy. In July, the zoo fired its curator, partially relieved of his duties, and it is unclear whether the letter had anything to do with the firing. After reading the letter, the five-member board decided to appoint a committee made up of three members to investigate whether the letter was relevant. The three-member committee excluded Carl Alberty, the son of a former zoo employee. The three-member committee’s findings focused on Clark’s leadership.

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