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


  • 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.


  • 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.

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