Memphis Zoo displays safeguards against animal attacks - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

Memphis Zoo displays safeguards against animal attacks

Big teeth are part of the reason big cats are carefully controlled at the Memphis Zoo.

"They're all wild animals and even horses can hurt you if you're not careful," says zoo visitor Clay Horan.

Horan and his two daughters braved the rain Wednesday to watch the tigers.  The threat of an attack was far from their thoughts.

The Memphis Zoo wants to make sure they have no reason to worry, despite news of a deadly tiger attack in California.

"Anytime something like that happens in the zoo world, we all take notice," says Memphis Zoo Marketing Director Brian Carter.

The zoo also re-examines how both the public and the animals are protected.

"These exhibits that are built for cats, primates, and other animals that are potentially dangerous are built species specific," says Carter.

There is no fence between visitors and the tiger habitat.  However, there is a moat and electrical wiring that force the cats to keep their distance.

"It's wire that, if they touch it, it'll give them a little shock to tell them it's not a climbing structure," says Carter.

Exhibits that put less distance between visitors and animals do have plenty of strong fencing.  Many of them are completely surrounded by a 20-foot tall wall of wire.

The zoo conducts quarterly drills to help ensure that any possible animal emergency will not have deadly results.

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