their life at the National Zoo. In a minority of cases, the committee found evidence of inadequate care or lapses in recordkeeping. The lapses in recordkeeping made it difficult to determine whether husbandry and veterinary procedures occurred but were not documented or whether the procedures were not performed.
The zoo must take immediate steps to clarify the actions, procedures, and observations that must be included in each type of record created by animal-care, veterinary, and nutrition staff.
The apparent inadequate care caused by failures on the part of the veterinary, nutrition, and animal-care staff at the Rock Creek Park facility are being addressed by recent changes in policies and new initiatives by the zoo. The zoo should continue efforts to establish accountability for unprofessional actions that involved any level of staff.
This evaluation of recent deaths at the CRC facility reveals widespread veterinary recordkeeping deficiencies, raising concerns about the adequacy of the preventive medicine program at the CRC. Senior management should evaluate whether the veterinary staff was adhering to the preventive medicine program from 1999 until recently and continue its current efforts to establish oversight and accountability for the veterinary staff at the CRC.