Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.
OCR for page 77
Animal Care and Management at the National Zoo: Final Report 7 Recent National Zoo Actions in Response to the Interim Report The National Zoo is in a period of transition. In response to the committee’s interim report (NRC, 2004a), the zoo has been engaged in evaluation of the interim report findings and immediate needs and in formulation of necessary actions. Indeed, the zoo has been moving forward in those respects not only since the interim report was issued but consistently since the beginning of the committee’s study, in response to reports from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). This chapter examines the zoo’s progress in response to the seven findings and immediate needs in the interim report. The committee has considered in its analysis progress that has already been demonstrated, stated plans of action, and responses to its interim report and other recent reports on the zoo. Specifically, the committee has considered these questions: Has documentation of the improvements been sufficient? Have actions taken been appropriate? If a proposed action plan includes a timeline, is the timeline appropriate, and has the zoo maintained the schedule so far? Are there measures in place for self-evaluation? NATIONAL ZOO ACTION PLAN In the wake of the interim report released in February 2004, the zoo developed an action plan to address the concerns raised by the committee. The action plan included specific monthly or annual goals to be attained in animal care, nutrition, animal welfare, facilities, administration, recordkeeping, pest control, and strategic planning, which are submitted to and monitored by senior management. Table 7-1 summarizes the performance measures and minimal acceptable standards. The zoo provided the committee with performance measures for May, June, and July 2004. Of the 15 performance measures identified by the action plan, the zoo met the acceptable standards for 11 in May, June, and July 2004. The performance measure for recordkeeping will not be instituted until new standards are completed in September 2004; no information was given by the zoo on tracking the cost growth of the Asia Trail. For three performance measures—percentage of maintenance work orders completed, percentage of performance reviews completed, and percentage of integrated pest management (IPM) work orders completed—the zoo fell below the acceptable standard. However, for IPM work-orders and performance reviews, the zoo displayed progress over the 3-month period and attained 100% completion in July. For only one performance measure, completion of maintenance work orders, has the zoo failed to attain an acceptable standard; in fact, the percentage of work orders completed each month has declined, from 74% in May to only 47% in July. The zoo noted that because of funding limitations the facility staff is 28% below authorized levels
OCR for page 78
Animal Care and Management at the National Zoo: Final Report (NZP, NAS Action Plan Performance, July 2004). The zoo has many failing facilities, and completing less than 50% of maintenance orders monthly is unacceptable. That will inevitably lead to the failure of more facilities and to unsafe conditions for the animals, staff, and visitors. It also provides a pointed example of the importance of human-resources planning to avoid situations in which a lack of staff jeopardizes the functioning of an organization. One performance measure, completion of diet reviews, raises a special concern in the committee. The zoo has attained its monthly goal through July, but the acting clinical nutritionist is resigning effective September 30, 2004. As of the end of July, 31% of the diets still need to be reviewed and entered into the database. Given the resignation of the clinical nutritionist, and the length of time that it typically takes the Smithsonian to hire a replacement, it seems unlikely that the zoo will attain the goal of completing the diet reviews by the end of 2004. However, as the research nutritionist and clinical nutritionist have been collaborating on the review of diets for the animal collection, work on the review and entry of the diets into the database could be continued by the research nutritionist during the interim, so that the momentum gained over the last year in this arena is not lost.
OCR for page 79
Animal Care and Management at the National Zoo: Final Report Table 7- 1. National Zoo Performance Standards to Track Improvements Made in Response to National Research Council Interim Report Performance Measure Minimal Standard to Maintain Green (Acceptable) Status High- Quality Animal Care % of scheduled preventive medicine examinations performed Number of staff participating in AZA programs 91% completed monthly 75 staff trained annually Diet Review and Progress toward Centralized Commissary % of diets reviewed and entered into database % of monthly schedule completed 8% reviewed monthly/ 100% by December 31, 2004 100% of monthly schedule completed Animal Welfare Number of animal- welfare findings not corrected within 12 months Fewer than 5 findings Renew Facilities Number of renewed and new exhibits completed % of time growth for major construction (currently Asia Trail) % of cost growth for major construction (currently Asia Trail) Improve and open one exhibit every 2 months 0- 10% time growth of schedule 1- 5% cost growth of budget Improve Maintenance % of work orders completed 90% completed monthly Improved Human Resources and Administration % of supervisors trained % of performance reviews completed by deadline (April 30 and August 30) 25% of supervisors trained quarterly, 100% annually 100% completed by deadline Improved Organization of Animal- Care Records % of records filed and retained according to new Smithsonian standards (standards instituted in July 2004) 25% increase in number of records properly stored 100% properly stored by November 2004. Improved Pest Management % of IPM work orders completed Number of meetings held between contract and zoo IPM specialist 90% completed monthly Two meetings per month Strategic Plan Implementation % of targets met for strategic plan implementation 100% of monthly implementation schedule completed Source: Summarized from NZP National Academy of Sciences Action Plan Performance.
OCR for page 80
Animal Care and Management at the National Zoo: Final Report VETERINARY CARE Interim Report Findings: “The current preventive medicine program at the National Zoo is not being fully implemented, and since 1998, veterinary staff members have not been adhering to this program in terms of providing annual exams, vaccinations, and infectious-disease testing. Although efforts have been made in the past year to improve implementation, there is still a backlog of animals that have not received examinations, vaccinations, or tests as prescribed by the preventive medicine program.” Interim Report Immediate Needs: “The Department of Animal Health should promptly eliminate the backlog of animals that should receive preventive care and document its current and future plan for preventive medicine activities. The National Zoo administration should take responsibility for ensuring that the Department of Animal Health has the resources and oversight necessary to adhere to the program.” National Zoo’s Actions in Response to Interim Report Department of Animal Health at the Rock Creek Park Facility After the release of the interim report, the Department of Animal Health at the Rock Creek Park facility immediately worked to eliminate the backlog of preventive-medicine procedures. As of spring 2004, the backlog had been eliminated (NZP, Preventive Health Schedule, May 3, 2004; NZP, Great Ape Exams, undated; NZP, Small Mammal House/Propagation Primates, undated). The veterinary staff reviewed and updated its preventive-medicine protocols in March 2004 (NZP Preventative Health Program, March 2004) and established a monthly schedule for preventive-medicine examinations, tests, and vaccinations (NZP Preventive Health Schedule, March 2004.) A performance measure for the preventive-medicine program was established whereby the percentage of scheduled preventive-medicine procedures is tracked on a monthly basis by senior management. From the establishment of this performance measure in May 2004 until July 2004, the Department of Animal Health at the Rock Creek Park facility completed 100% of its scheduled preventive-medicine procedures (NZP, NAS Action Plan Performance, July 2004). The committee encourages the Department of Animal Health and senior management to continue to use completion of preventive-medicine procedures as a monthly performance measure to ensure that systematic lapses in preventive medicine do not happen in the future. The committee applauds the professionalism and actions of the veterinary staff in enacting the changes and recognizes the enormous effort that it took to make the changes in such an expeditious manner. Department of Pathology For the last several decades, the zoo has maintained an extraordinary department of veterinary pathology. For example, the department was the first to identify a fungal skin disease in frogs, which turned out to be a major factor in the global decline of amphibians (NRC, 2003b). However, there is evidence that the zoo’s department of pathology was not functioning effectively, particularly in 2003. As of February of 2004, a backlog of uncompleted pathology reports had accumulated and the 2003 annual morbidity and mortality assessment had not been developed (NZP, NAS Action Plan, May 2004). This backlog included 60 incomplete pathology reports from 2003 (approximately 21% of the caseload) and 59 incomplete pathology reports from the years 2000-2002 (approximately 4% of the total caseload). Documentation of this backlog was submitted to the committee following its request in March 2004 for a large number of pathology reports (NZP, NAS Action Plan, April 13, 2004). Though the committee’s review of recent animal deaths (Chapter 4) revealed only one case where a Pathology Report had not been issued, it is possible that any future backlog in pathology reports or the annual morbidity and mortality assessments could prevent the zoo from properly assessing the population health of the collection and mitigating health risks. No specific performance measure has been established to monitor the operations of the pathology department, but such a measure would allow senior management to recognize and mitigate any incident or staffing issue that would negatively impact on the department’s ability to manage its caseload in a timely fashion.
OCR for page 81
Animal Care and Management at the National Zoo: Final Report Since February 2004, the Department of Pathology has eliminated the backlog of 60 pathology cases from 2003 (NZP, Viner memo, April 29, 2004). The zoo has also set a target date of May, 2005 (NZP, NAS Action Plan, December 2004) for completion of the backlog of cases from 2000-2002. In addition, the 2003 morbidity and mortality assessment is scheduled to be completed by December 2004 (NZP, NAS Action Plan, May 2004). The zoo advertised an open position vacancy for a supervisory pathologist in June 2004 (Smithsonian Institution, Vacancy Announcement, 04SP-1198). However, after interviewing candidates, the zoo has deferred hiring from this announcement and has appointed the acting supervisory pathologist to a term appointment (NZP, Tanner memo, December 6, 2004). Findings and Recommendations Findings: The Department of Animal Health at the Rock Creek Park facility has addressed the findings and immediate needs of the interim report by eliminating the backlog of preventive-medicine procedures; reviewing and updating preventive-medicine protocols; establishing a monthly schedule for preventive-medicine examinations, tests, and vaccinations; and establishing and tracking a monthly performance measure for the preventive-medicine program. The Department of Pathology developed a backlog of pathology cases from 2000 to 2003 and had failed to develop an annual morbidity and mortality assessment. The backlog of pathology cases from 2003 was eliminated in early 2004, the rest of the cases are slated for completion by May 2005, and the 2003 morbidity and mortality assessment is slated for completion by the end of 2004. Recommendations: Performance measures should be established for the pathology department to monitor operations and ensure that until a permanent supervisory pathologist is hired, the department has adequate staff to meet the pathology needs of the zoo and continue consulting with the larger zoo community. ANIMAL NUTRITION Interim Report Findings: “Shortcomings exist in the animal nutrition program. There has been inadequate communication between the nutrition keeper, and veterinary staffs; poor consultation between the research nutritionist and the acting head of clinical nutrition; and a lack of standardization and regular evaluation of animal diets. Nutrition records are not currently integrated with other record-keeping systems and, despite having adequate facilities for over a decade, the National Zoo is only now beginning to move toward a centralized commissary.” Interim Report Immediate Needs: “The National Zoo should immediately use its existing expertise by increasing coordination and collaboration between the acting head of clinical nutrition and the research nutritionist to address nutritional issues of the animal collection, including diet review, evaluation, and modification. The zoo also should seek a permanent (rather than temporary), qualified experienced person for the role of clinical nutritionist. Centralization of standard diet formulation records and integration of those records with other record-keeping systems for animal care and management at the National Zoo should be completed. An annual schedule for evaluation of diet formulations for each animal or animal group should be developed and implemented. The National Zoo should finalize its draft plan to centralize the commissary and implement it in 2004.” National Zoo’s Actions in Response to Interim Report The zoo reports that its research nutritionist and its acting clinical nutritionist were having biweekly meetings to discuss diet review, evaluation, and modification prior to the departure of the clinical nutritionist. A protocol has been developed and implemented to improve communication among veterinarians, the clinical nutritionist, and curators. The protocol requires that all three sign off on any dietary changes. It must be noted that
OCR for page 82
Animal Care and Management at the National Zoo: Final Report sign off by the curator, nutritionist, and veterinary staff has been a stated requirement on diet change request forms since at least 1998 (NZP, Diet Specification and Diet Change Request Form, Accession # 106318). Zoo management indicates that that will encourage increased and continued collaboration between clinical and research nutrition staff through revisions in annual performance plans (NZP, Response to Interim Report, March 17, 2004). Interviews with zoo staff indicate that interaction between the clinical nutritionist and keepers has apparently increased in the last several months and that the clinical nutritionist has been responsive to keeper needs and questions. The committee recommends continued efforts to improve the communication and collaboration among keepers, curators, veterinary staff, and nutrition staff. Senior management must establish accountability for the appropriate sign off on dietary changes so that failures in the nutritional management of the collection do not continue to occur. Diet Documentation As of July 2004, 69% of all diets for species at the zoo have been reviewed and entered into the diet database (NZP, NAS Action Plan Performance, July 2004). This includes the diets for all species of mammal, bird, reptile, and amphibian (NZP, NAS Action Plan Performance, July 2004); only diets for invertebrates are unfinished. The database consists of individual Microsoft Word documents that are organized and stored in the zoo’s intranet system so they are accessible to all staff. While the committee applauds the zoo’s recent efforts to document the diets of the entire animal collection, the current databasing system (a collection of Microsoft Word files) does not have the capability for additional functions, such as electronic analysis of diets and automating commissary ordering and budgetary management. Nutrition software that incorporates all of some or all of these additional functions are being utilized by other zoological parks in the US, and the zoo is urged to investigate these options and determine if such a software package, if properly adapated, could enhance the functioning of the nutrition program and department at the zoo. The zoo’s stated goal is to have all diets reviewed and entered into the database by December 31, 2004; however, the nutritionist is scheduled to resign effective September 30, 2004, and the zoo expects progress in reviewing and documenting the remaining diets to slow (NZP, NAS Action Plan Performance, July 2004). The zoo has developed or revised protocols for animal-diet determination, analysis and changes, hay management, quality control, enrichment guidelines, and hospital diets (NZP, DAH Procedures on Nutrition and Commissary Operating Protocols, September 15, 2003). The committee applauds the efforts of the zoo in quickly and effectively addressing the substantial deficiencies in diet documentation outlined in the interim report. There remain recent examples of conflicting staff knowledge and inadequate documentation of animal diets. There are conflicting reports from staff and no documentation regarding the browse provided gorillas as enrichment. The assistant curator of primates states that browse is fed daily to primates and that in the winter months the variety of browse is limited to two or three species, whereas during the summer months many more species of browse are available. The nutritionist states that the zoo does not maintain a 12-month browse program and that browse is available on a limited basis during the spring and summer months (NZP, Responses to NAS on Nutrition Requests, May 12, 2004). Diets should be nutritionally complete without food items fed as enrichment; however, it is still important to document the type of browse being offered, the nutritional content of the browse, and a general understanding of consumption patterns. These factors must be known to ensure that the consumption of browse does not cause an imbalance in the diet that can negatively affect the health of the animal. Diet records should reflect any nutrient intake in browse or other food items fed as enrichment. At a minimum, the browse, even if used only as enrichment, should be recorded as a component of the diet, and weights of the browse should be recorded before and after feeding on a regular basis. Browse should be analyzed to help to estimate nutrient intake in the future. Diet Formulation The committee’s interim report discussed several examples of possible concerns with diet formulation. For example, a report by USDA (2004) states that the feeding of baked fish and beef to apes at the zoo is inappropriate. A review of the orangutan diet (NZP, Animal Diet, Accession #103874) indicates that meat and fish provide 5% of dietary dry matter. A review of several gorilla diets provided to the committee (NZP, Submission of Animal Diets, January 8, 2004) indicates that meat provides 4-6% of dry-matter intake.
OCR for page 83
Animal Care and Management at the National Zoo: Final Report Opinions as to the value of animal products in ape diets vary among zoos; however, scientific reports suggest that these products are not part of apes’ natural diet and may be inappropriate (Popovich and Dierenfeld, 1997; NRC, 2003). Popovich and Dierenfeld (1997) conducted a survey of 37 zoos. Meat was fed daily at one zoo and one to two times per week at five zoos. Eggs were fed at 19 zoos: daily at three, one to two times per week at six, and one to two times per month at 10. Popovich and Dierenfeld conclude that “there appears to be little need to feed gorillas any type of animal products including eggs (except of course, nursing young).” They also suggest that animal products could increase serum cholesterol in apes and thus increase the potential for cardiovascular disease. Rothman (2004) reports that gorillas in the wild do not eat vertebrate parts do eat some insects. In addition to formulation, the form of the diet is important. An example of where a link to the form of diet, its nutritional adequacy, and potential enrichment are key is the cheetah diet (NZP, Animal Diet, Accession #113866). Feeding 1.8 kg of a commercial carnivore diet would provide adequate concentrations of nutrients as listed by the National Research Council for cats (NRC, 2004b), but the form of this diet (soft, meat-based) could lead to dental problems (Bond and Lindburg, 1990). The clinical nutritionist reports that the enrichment program for cats includes bones and whole rabbits, which can help to prevent such dental problems as the buildup of tartar and also provide nutrients. To the extent that these items are fed or consumed, they should be recorded as dietary components and considered in formulation of the diet. The interim report provided analyses of diets for several primate species and three Grevy’s zebras at the zoo. These analyses were based on the NRC publications Nutrient Requirement of Nonhuman Primates (2003a) and Nutrient Requirements of Horses (1989b). The NRC nutrient requirements are “guidelines” that are extrapolated largely from studies of animals in controlled laboratory settings. For this reason, an appropriate analysis of diets at the National Zoo using the NRC nutrient recommendations should include consideration of variables such as health status and age and how to properly extrapolate dietary requirements developed for nonzoological animals under controlled laboratory conditions to zoological animals. The analyses of diets presented in Tables 2-4 and 2-5 of the interim report did not include consideration of these points. Further, the diets analyzed in the interim report reflected the food items offered to the animal and not the food items actually consumed by the animal. The composition of the diet actually consumed can vary considerably from the composition of the diet offered as animals may consume only preferred components of the diet. In the absence of this information on consumption, the documented diets may not reflect the actual nutrition consumed by the animal. For these reasons, the analyses of diets presented in Tables 2-4 and 2-5 of the interim report were unnecessarily subjective and should be disregarded.* Food Analyses Steps have been taken to improve the efficiency of food-composition analyses. The research-nutrition unit has drafted a memorandum of understanding with the clinical-nutrition unit for nutrition laboratory services (NZP, NAS Action Plan, May 3, 2004). Under the agreement, a working relationship between the units will be solidified whereby the research-nutrition laboratory provides assistance to the clinical-nutrition staff with the analyses of zoo food items. The committee recommends that the agreement and the effectiveness of the working relationship be evaluated annually by senior management and that collaboration be encouraged through revisions in annual performance plans. Hiring of Permanent Clinical Nutritionist A job description for a supervisory research nutritionist was written in fall 2003. However, according to the zoo action plan (NZP, NAS Action Plan, May 3, 2004), the zoo plans to hire a supervisory clinical nutritionist (GS-14) and realign the reporting structure of the commissary and the clinical nutrition unit by October 1, 2004. In addition, the supervisory clinical nutritionist is resigning effective September 30, 2004; the zoo planned to hire a new supervisory clinical nutritionist in September or October 2004 (NZP, NAS Action Plan Performance, July 2004). However, the zoo reopened the vacancy announcement for a supervisory clinical nutritionist in October 2004. This announcement states as the basic requirement for qualification, (A) a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines or (B) courses equivalent to a major, as * This paragraph was edited after release of the prepublication draft to clarify the committee’s views on the analyses presented in Tables 2-4 and 2-5 of the committee’s interim report.
OCR for page 84
Animal Care and Management at the National Zoo: Final Report shown in A, plus appropriate experience or additional education (Smithsonian Institution, Vacancy Announcement 04SP-1371). The committee recommends that the zoo seek a qualified, experienced nutritionist with an advanced degree (PhD) in animal nutrition or an equivalent number of years of experience in management, design, and implementation of a zoo-animal nutrition program. The committee bases this recommendation on several factors: the diversity and stature of the zoo’s animal collection; the continued shortcomings noted in the composition, formulation, and evaluation of animal diets; and the close collaboration with the PhD research nutritionist that is expect to continue with the hiring of the next clinical nutritionist. The committee strongly recommends that in the short-term, the zoo utilize the current research nutritionist to continue the progress that has already been made in reviewing and documenting diets for the animal collection. The committee recognizes that the research nutritionist cannot juggle both positions for any significant length of time and urges the zoo to make every effort necessary to locate and hire an appropriately qualified and experienced clinical nutritionist. However, once the clinical nutritionist position has been filled, it important for the research nutritionist to remain involved in the clinical nutrition program to move advances made in the research community into the decision-making process for clinical diets. Record Integration Individual animal units maintained historical diet records before 2002. Current zoo diets are posted in individual animal units to facilitate diet preparation. Procedures for posting diets are managed by curators or biologists in individual animal areas. The nutritionist is working with all animal areas to standardize diet records used in each unit. Computerized documentation of animal diets is under way. Currently, the clinical nutritionist maintains computerized diet records and diet-record approvals. Those records are maintained only in the nutritionist’s office; however, there has been collaboration with the Information Technology Division to create suitable space on the zoo’s server for computerized diet-record storage. Access of all pertinent animal-care staff to the diet database via an intranet server should be available by November 2004 (NZP, Responses to NAS on Nutrition Requests, May 12, 2004). Centralized Commissary The zoo plans to centralize animal nutrition to improve oversight of daily feedings and diets, reduce rodent infestations associated with overfeeding, and decrease animal food expenses. A commissary task force has been organized to develop and oversee a centralization plan. A contractor was selected, and the contractor has met with the animal programs and commissary staff, visited all food-preparation areas (23 buildings), and documented all current activities. The contractor has made initial recommendations and prepared a questionnaire to be used in two site visits to other zoos (NZP, NAS Action Plan Performance, July 2004). In April 2004, a preliminary budget estimate and staffing needs were submitted to the under secretary of science for the FY 2006 budget. The zoo has also drafted an organizational timeline (January 2004-August 2005) to implement a centralized commissary. The move to a central commissary will be gradual, and this appears to be a reasonable approach. Conversion to a centralized commissary system at the San Diego Zoo and the Forth Worth Zoo took 3-4 years. A trial run of the centralized commissary system for pilot area 1 (possibly Bird House) is proposed for January 2005. Additional training of animal-program and veterinary staff on nutrition with site visits to facilities that have centralized commissaries is planned for August and September 2004. A new commissary manager who has an extensive background in warehousing has been hired. He also has training and practical experience in animal science, nutrition, and general agriculture, all of which will be helpful in dealing with commissary operations. Since May 2003, the zoo has developed or revised protocols for monitoring food orders and deliveries, commissary inventory, and assessing food quality. A record system to track food shipments to each exhibit food unit has been developed and will help with inventory, ordering, and flagging diet changes. A program for commissary budgetary management and cost analysis is under development.
OCR for page 85
Animal Care and Management at the National Zoo: Final Report Findings and Recommendations Findings: Notwithstanding the urgent need to complete science-based evaluations of all animal diets, considerable improvements in the nutrition program have been implemented, and they appear to be occurring at a reasonable rate. Collaboration between the research nutritionist and the acting clinical nutritionist was initiated quickly and has benefited the zoo’s nutrition program. The acting clinical nutritionist has made improvements in dietary documentation since fall 2003 and has improved communication and cooperation with keepers, which ultimately results in improved animal care. Although long overdue, progress has been made in the last year to improve commissary operations and management, increase attention paid to the food budget, and implement a centralized commissary. Recommendations: The committee strongly recommends continued efforts in improving communication and collaboration among keepers, curators, and DAH veterinary and clinical nutrition staffs so that all the zoo diets can be accurately described and quantified regularly. On the basis of the committee’s diet analyses, nutritional problems remain with primate diets that contain food items that are not appropriate for particular species. In addition, key components of the diet (such as browse) are not documented for use in evaluation. Nutritional evaluations of these and all diets of animals in the collection should be performed as soon as possible and appropriate modifications made. The committee recommends that the effectiveness of the working relationship between the research nutrition and clinical nutrition units to evaluate the zoo’s animal diets be reviewed annually, and that collaboration be encouraged through revisions of annual performance plans. The committee recommends that the zoo finish developing a full schedule for centralization of its commissary so that it can continue monitoring progress toward a centralized commissary within a reasonable period. ANIMAL WELFARE Interim Report Findings: “There is a lack of documentation that the welfare of animals has been appropriately considered during the development and implementation of research programs and that complaints regarding the welfare of animals on exhibit were appropriately investigated. There also has been a lack of understanding within the National Zoo and the Smithsonian Institution of the requirements of federal regulations and Public Health Service Policy and how to maintain compliance.” Interim Report Immediate Needs: “The National Zoo and the Smithsonian Institution should ensure compliance with all elements of the Animal Welfare Act and the Public Health Service Policy. The National Zoo and the Smithsonian Institution should seek outside training and assistance to achieve compliance with regulations and implement procedures meant to ensure the welfare of research and exhibit animals at the National Zoo.” National Zoo’s Actions in Response to Interim Report The committee has documentation that the Smithsonian has provided NIH with the appropriate assurance that it will comply with the PHS Policy (Smithsonian Institution, Evans letter to Potkay, March 31, 2004; April 5, 2004; April 30, 2004). The documentation that the Smithsonian submitted to the OLAW regarding compliance with the PHS Policy (Smithsonian Institution, Evans letter to Potkay, March 31, 2004) indicated that both the Rock Creek
OCR for page 86
Animal Care and Management at the National Zoo: Final Report Park and Conservation and Research Center facilities did not comply with the requirement to perform semiannual program evaluations and inspections of facilities from 2000 to 2002. Furthermore, the Smithsonian indicated that annual reports for 2000, 2001, and 2003 were not submitted to NIH; these reports were included in the March 2004 submission to NIH. In spite of those past failures, the zoo has made considerable progress since February 2004 in response to the animal welfare findings in the committee’s interim report. In addition to the Smithsonian submission of an assurance to OLAW, the Smithsonian and USDA have entered into a memorandum of understanding establishing USDA’s authority to conduct announced and unannounced inspections of the zoo for the purposes of ensuring compliance with the Animal Welfare Act (Smithsonian Institution, Memorandum of Understanding Between Smithsonian Institution and The United States Department of Agriculture, March 31, 2004). A recent USDA inspection of the zoo indicates that the noncompliance items cited in the February 12, 2004, USDA inspection report were resolved (USDA, USDA Inspection Report, September 9, 2004). In meetings with the two IACUC chairmen and with documentation noted below, the committee was able to establish that the makeup of the IACUC is appropriate, and the zoo is taking steps to provide the IACUC members with the training required to understand and perform their roles so that appropriate standards are being followed and documented to ensure the welfare of animals at the two zoo facilities. The zoo is accumulating available information for the members of the IACUCs and is working to arrange for an outside organization to provide training In the meantime, it will make use of published material (such as the NRC Guide, 1996) and on-line training opportunities (OLAW-sponsored on-line training courses: “Essentials for ACUC Members” and “Working with the ACUC”) (NZP, Roberts memo, April 27, 2004; NZP, Response to the NAS committee on requested items, May 5, 2004). This is a major favorable shift at the zoo regarding the function of its IACUCs, and it will be important for this progress to continue its momentum. If the zoo’s inconsistent approach to animal welfare is going to change, it will require the IACUCs to follow through on the plans they have developed to come into compliance with appropriate structure, function, and documentation of their activities (see for example, NZP, Roberts memo, May 12, 2004). The semiannual inspections and follow-through on needed remediation, and minutes of meetings to review protocols and evaluate concerns and complaints sent to the IACUCs for their consideration will be a critical continuing measure of compliance and effectiveness. The Smithsonian Institution’s written assurance to OLAW indicates that the Under Secretary of Science has been designated the Institutional Official for Animal Welfare Compliance. According to both PHS Policy (Section III) and the Animal Welfare Act (9CFR1.1) is the official who has the legal authority to make a commitment on behalf of the institution that the requirements of PHS Policy and the Animal Welfare Act are being met, and ultimately is the individual held responsible for ensuring institutional compliance. Appointment of an Institutional Official at the Smithsonian Institution will help ensure that the IACUCs are conducting and documenting facility inspections, program reviews, and meetings properly, as well as, appropriately following up on areas of concern noted in the semiannual inspections or through staff complaints. Continued progress in animal welfare will help to bring the zoo into line with animal-welfare practices evolving at other zoos (Goodrowe, 2003; AVMA, 2003). It will be critical to link animal-welfare progress to the full spectrum of activities and practices (NZP, Enrichment and Training Programs at the National Zoo, May 3, 2004). Animal welfare cannot be divorced from the many other deficiencies identified at the zoo. Strategic planning, staff training, data management, and nutrition all played a role in compromising the welfare of the zoo’s animals. Progress in those and other aspects will be needed to fulfill the zoo’s obligations to protect animal welfare. Findings and Recommendations Finding: The zoo and the Smithsonian Institution have made considerable progress in complying with the relevant federal statutes. Recommendation: The committee recommends that the zoo establish and monitor performance measures to ensure that its IACUC conduct semiannual inspections and program reviews, follow through on needed remediation, and document meetings to review protocols and evaluate concerns and complaints sent
OCR for page 87
Animal Care and Management at the National Zoo: Final Report to the committees for their consideration. Continuing evaluation of those performance measures will document the continued effectiveness of the IACUCs in ensuring animal welfare. ADHERENCE TO POLICIES AND PROCEDURES Interim Report Finding: “There has been poor adherence to the National Zoo’s own policies and procedures for animal health and welfare.” Interim Report Immediate Needs: “All levels of management should be held accountable for ensuring that National Zoo policies and procedures are followed. All zoo staff should take personal responsibility for educating themselves and adhering with the policies and procedures that pertain to their position and duties.” National Zoo’s Actions in Response to Interim Report According to the zoo’s stated plan of action, one of the primary objectives of the all-supervisor meetings is to make certain that supervisors are familiar with zoo policies and protocols with the intention that consistent interpretation of and adherence to procedures by all employees will follow. Although there is no documentation to verify that the objectives of the all-supervisor meetings are being met, the intention seems appropriate and the meetings seek to address the concerns of the interim report. However, it is not apparent to the committee that the zoo has adequately communicated that all supervisors, including senior management, are accountable for management failures that allow repeated lapses or poor performance in any aspect of zoo operations. The zoo has implemented a series of performance measures that set goals for supervisors in the veterinary and nutrition departments in particular, but performance measures to monitor the Department of Animal Programs and individual units have yet to be developed. Another step that the zoo’s management staff is taking to ensure that employees are familiar with procedures and policies is to update and revise their Best Practices Manual, and they are requesting that each unit provide input. By December of 2004 the zoo staff expects to have the Best Practices Manual updated. The Best Practices Manual addresses zoo-wide policies, but it does not contain any specific protocols for husbandry, management, or enrichment. For the safety and well-being of the keepers and the animal collection, those protocols also need to be revised, updated, and distributed to the animal care staff. Although the committee believes the timeline is appropriate for zoo-wide policies, there should be a timeline for updating, revising, and distributing specific animal care and enrichment protocols to staff as well. In addition, as discussed in Chapter 3, the zoo needs to develop a training program to make sure that all employees are familiar with procedures and are consistently following them. In an interview with committee members, the zoo upper management staff conceded that it was too soon (May 5) to tell how effective their efforts to improve adherence to procedures had been. However, the zoo has established some monthly performance measures that can be used to track compliance with policies. As AZA noted, the zoo is in a state of flux, and the committee recognizes that it may take time for all policies and procedures to be followed consistently throughout all parts of the zoo. For example, in March 2004, when the AZA accreditation team reviewed the documentation process for euthanasia, it discovered that “it appears that some of the paperwork documenting the process has not been recorded or maintained in accordance with the zoo’s own internal policy” (AZA, 2004). Although the team concluded that there was evidence that the decision to perform euthanasia was made thoughtfully and that “no untimely or inhumane euthanasias have resulted from the lapses in internal paperwork” (AZA, 2004), staff should be adhering to procedures to avoid controversy and confusion. Findings and Recommendations Findings: The two most important omissions in plans for ensuring adherence to policies and procedures are training and accountability.
OCR for page 88
Animal Care and Management at the National Zoo: Final Report Although zoo management is undertaking the daunting task of updating and revising the Best Practices Manual, it still needs to address how it plans to train all employees uniformly on zoo procedures. The zoo has implemented performance measures for the veterinary and nutrition departments, which provides a mechanism for managerial accountability However, the Department of Animal Programs and individual units have no performance measures that allow senior management to monitor the operations that most directly affect the welfare of the animal collection. Recommendations: The zoo should develop performance measures to monitor the operations of the Department of Animal Programs and individual units as a mechanism for managerial accountability. The zoo must continue to clarify the roles and responsibilities of all staff. Inherent in this task is identifying who is accountable for decision-making and ensuring adherence to policies and procedures. RECORDKEEPING Interim Report Finding: “The National Zoological Park lacks a comprehensive information management system for animal husbandry and management records, which results in inconsistent record keeping and practices of alteration in medical records weeks or years after events.” Interim Report Immediate Need: “The National Zoo should implement an information management system that insures complete documentation of animal husbandry and management and reasonable accessibility to the records by all units and departments. This does not necessarily mean that the entire system needs to be computerized immediately but rather that consistent practices be put in place, that a system be developed to make records reasonably accessible and that an appropriately experienced individual be given responsibility for system oversight.” National Zoo’s Actions in Response to Interim Report The zoo recognizes that a well-integrated information-management system is necessary to avoid many of the recordkeeping, retrieval, and archiving problems that the zoo has had in the recent past (NZP, Schoop Report to the Smithsonian Institution Office of Government Relations, May 4, 2004; personal communication, M. Murphy, March 19, 2004). The new Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), to which the zoo has been contributing considerable resources, is expected to fill the zoo’s needs for an integrated-management system and the zoo is expected to take full advantage of its investment. However, the ZIMS system is not slated for initial release until 2006 (ZIMS, 2004). While awaiting the development and implementation of ZIMS, the zoo has developed standardized approaches and policies for archiving records so that information contained in them can be easily retrieved; this should avoid the loss and inaccessibility of records that have occurred in some instances. Record storage and retention were reviewed by the Smithsonian Institution and changes were incorporated (NZP, NAS Action Plan, February 13, 2004). The zoo has also begun to develop additional software for electronic keeper records and increasing the integration of the MedARKS records. New software for the electronic keeper logs has been developed and is being tested in several units. When the pilot tests have been completed and necessary changes made, the system will be implemented by all units and departments in the zoo; the target date is summer 2004 (personal communication, P. Schoop). Keeper training is planned when implementation expands (NZP, Best Practice Manual, 2003). This system will avoid the loss of records and facilitate information transfer when staff turnover occurs. Software is being developed in 2004 to make the Medical Animal Record Keeping System (MedARKS) electronically accessible and compatible with current zoo Web-based intranet hardware and software (personal communication, P. Schoop). The nutritional database has been placed on the zoo’s intranet (NZP, NAS Action Plan, Febraury 13, 2004). It is important that recordkeeping, archiving, and retrieval in the interim information-management system should be unaffected by staff illness, absence, or turnover. The acting registrar recognizes that
OCR for page 89
Animal Care and Management at the National Zoo: Final Report her job will evolve into one of information management rather than just data entry (personal communication, M. Murphy, March 19, 2004). The zoo administration needs to communicate to all personnel that the registrar has the responsibility and authority to manage all aspects of the information system. Several units have augmented the keeper log records by developing their own forms to track specific aspects of animal husbandry. One unit, the Beaver Valley exhibit, has developed an extensive set of forms to ensure consistent documentation of information and facilitate communications between shifts and departments. Daily cage-check sheets indicate what tasks were performed in the morning and in the afternoon with the animals (such as training, enrichment, recording of appearance and stool condition, and weighing) and their pens (cleaning and rebedding). Weekly training records are kept for species that are being taught specific behaviors that will reduce the need for chemical or physical restraint. Morning and afternoon task lists and keeper chore assignments ensure occasional tasks are not forgotten and allow monitoring of unit operations. A daily history sheet is used to record intensive monitoring of individual animals that have medical problems to document behavior, physical observations, and medications, facilitating information transfer between shifts and to the zoo veterinary staff. This unit has also developed a standardized classification system to describe the behaviors and symptoms of ill animals; this facilitates accurate telephone communication between the keeper, curator, and veterinary staff. Finding and Recommendations Finding: The zoo needs an overall information-management system and has been taking steps in that direction. The expectation is that the Web-based ZIMS being developed by the International Species Information System in collaboration with the AZA and other professional associations will be that system when it is completed. Recommendations: The zoo administration and staff recognize the need for a zoowide information system and have been moving in that direction with commendable speed. It is important that this initiative continue to advance as swiftly as possible. Recordkeeping innovations developed within units should be shared and evaluated for use in other units of the zoo. Employee training to ensure adequate recording and archiving and appropriate oversight to ensure compliance with recording and archiving standards. Performance standards should be developed by the registrar and system users for the interim system and for ZIMS when it becomes available. PEST MANAGEMENT Interim Report Findings: “Even though the pest management program has been reorganized and is showing signs of improvement, pest management remains inadequate and poses a potential threat to the animal collection, employees, and visitors to the National Zoo.” Interim Report Immediate Needs: “A comprehensive IPM plan should be developed: (1) in the short term to bring current populations of pests down to acceptable levels and (2) in the long term to maintain those levels using modern IPM techniques.” National Zoo’s Actions in Response to Interim Report Observations and findings indicate that considerable progress has been made since the issuance of the interim report. Many of the obvious deficiencies noted have been addressed, and aesthetic improvements and
OCR for page 90
Animal Care and Management at the National Zoo: Final Report enhancements were observed by committee members in many areas. For example, what had previously appeared to be long-term endemic housekeeping problems (improper trash receptacles, poor upkeep of foliage, improper sanitation, and rodentproof mesh in poor repair or missing) showed signs of improvement. Many workers were observed repairing, painting, sweeping, and so on, and rodentproof trash receptacles were being installed. Although it did appear that signs of rodent infestation had been corrected to some degree (for example, outside greater ape house), there are still problems with rodents in several areas, and continued diligence is necessary (AZA, 2004). An experienced entomologist from the National Park Service was hired in November 2003 to lead the IPM effort at the zoo. However, initial efforts to implement IPM (and discontinue reliance on the use of chemical control as an option for rodents) and to rely solely on trapping and other controls has met with resistance from curators and other staff and has not been completely successful. It appears that the rat infestation had become extreme and that chemical control would be necessary before nonchemical techniques could successfully control the rodent population (NZP, Spelman Letter, March 17, 2004). Recently, a decision was made to use rodenticides, and discussions have begun about which types and toxicity levels of chemicals should be tolerated. The chemical-approval program has been successfully implemented by the safety director, and this ensures that any new pesticide will receive appropriate scrutiny before use. Other improvements include the hiring of a qualified pest-control firm on a short-term contract that has helped with the rodent and cockroach program (NZP, Spelman Letter, March 17, 2004). There have been a number of facility improvements, including installation of door sweeps, underground wire, pea gravel, and proper trash containers and increased trash pickups throughout the zoo. Other actions taken to improve pest management at the zoo include initiation of a public-education program for the use of IPM. In cooperation with the zoo, the University of the District of Columbia held an IPM training class at the zoo on March 18. The class was held for recertification training for licensed pest-control operators. Speakers covered such topics as IPM methods for urban environments, including rodent and cockroach control, and state and federal regulations for the safe handling and use of pesticides. The director of pathology who hired the IPM manager has left the zoo, and the current certified pesticide applicator will retire soon. On the basis of interviews, the IPM manager does not appear to have sufficient support to implement the policies necessary for a successful pest-management program. For example, she sets numerous traps for mice and rats and determines whether rats have been localized to particular areas on the basis of nighttime infrared surveys. Efforts to train staff or develop an IPM team have met with mixed results. Attendance at IPM training classes is sparse, and routine attempts to meet with curators to review IPM goals are of limited success. Findings and Recommendation Findings: There have been a number of improvements and progress, but a true IPM team effort (for example, in which each functional area has a designee that ensures that concepts and principles are followed) has not been established. Written procedures for the use of rodenticides (such as a policy on highly toxic vs moderately or slightly toxic materials) or a general IPM policy has not been developed. A formal functioning and effective IPM team has not yet been established. Although progress in the short term has been made, because of lack of zoowide support the IPM manager and her director appear to be focusing on the details of individual problems, and the policy and zoowide sustainable programs necessary for long-term success have yet to be addressed. Recommendation: IPM policies and procedures should be developed, and there should be proper documentation and senior management support of these policies. An IPM team should be formed with representation from all departments. A containment strategy should be developed for the dumpster and ancillary area.
Representative terms from entire chapter: