Zebra Captured After Escaping From Seoul Zoo
Seoul Audit Committee pointed out…”Manual to prevent secondary damage to nearby residents is also lacking”
It was revealed that Seoul Children’s Grand Park, which caused a fuss last March when the zebra ‘Sero’ escaped, did not have enough fences installed to prevent animal escapes, and the internal manual to prevent secondary damage to nearby residents was insufficient.
According to Seoul Metropolitan government on the 2nd, the city’s audit committee recently notified the Seoul Facilities Corporation, which manages and operates the Seoul Children’s Grand Park, to supplement the park’s fences and measures to prevent damage from animal escapes.
The audit committee pointed out that in the case of the zebra (Sero) that escaped on March 23rd last year, the height of the fence in the blueprint of the radiation field was 1.8 meter, satisfying the Ministry of Environment’s manual, but the actual fence height confirmed in the Ministry of Environment’s ‘Survey of the Current Status of Animal Habitat Environment in Zoos’ in 2022 was 1.7 meter, which did not meet the standard.
Also, the radiation field of the Herbivore Village has wooden and electric fences installed for close viewing and aesthetics, but the wooden fence, installed in 2010, was evaluated as being significantly deteriorated due to its long period of use.
In fact, if you look at the CCTV of Sero’s escape accident, Sero first crashed and damaged the vertical bars of the right fence of the radiation field, then climbed over the right fence of the radiation field, and finally broke the entire viewing deck fence and escaped.
During this process, the electric fence was in operation, but it had no effect on the excited zebra, and the wooden fence leaned weakly when the zebra climbed over the second fence, indicating that the radiation field fence did not function properly.
The Children’s Grand Park, which is relatively small compared to similar facilities such as the Seoul Grand Park in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi-do, has a high possibility of animals escaping from the zoo and getting out of the park in a short time. Especially, the park is very close to the residential areas of Guui-dong and Neung-dong in Gwangjin-gu, and there is a risk of personal and property damage to nearby residents if an animal escapes.
However, only four out of the ten entrances and exits of the Children’s Grand Park had security personnel and blocking facilities, and the remaining six gates had no security personnel or blocking facilities.
The audit committee also revealed that when they checked the outer fence of the Children’s Grand Park, out of a total boundary line of 2,814 meters, 900 meters, including the boundary with the Children’s Hall and the outer area of the water playground, used a forest road as the boundary instead of installing a fence. The section where the iron fence was installed was 614 meters, but the section where a 2-meter high fence was installed was only 210 meters.
The section where the wooden fence was installed was 1,300 meters, but all were 1.2 meters or less, a height that most wild animals can jump over.
The audit committee demanded that “the outer fence of the Children’s Grand Park and the blocking facilities of the entrances and exits should be reinforced”.
As can be seen in the case of Sero’s escape accident, carnivorous and medium-to-large herbivores can move very quickly and can escape to the outskirts of the park or nearby residential areas in an instant. In this case, there is a possibility that visitors may encounter escaped animals in places where there are no buildings to evacuate to, or residents may encounter animals in residential areas outside the park.
However, the safety rules of the Children’s Grand Park’s Zoo were lacking in manuals to prevent secondary damage, such as measures to guide visitors to evacuate to vulnerable areas such as the outskirts of the park, and to quickly inform nearby residents of the fact of animal escapes through disaster text messages.
At the time of Sero’s escape, there were 70 closed-circuit (CC) TVs installed in the zoo for animal management, but most of them were operating mainly for carnivores, and there was only one CCTV in the Herbivore Village.
After the escape accident, the Children’s Grand Park put forward measures to prevent recurrence, such as installing CCTV inside the Herbivore Village, installing temporary fences, and replacing viewing decks and iron railings.
The city’s audit committee ordered the park to “prepare short and long-term improvement measures through actual measurements of the zoo’s radiation field fence and surveys of vulnerable facilities in the park for animal escapes, and strengthen safety measures for animal escapes by expanding the target of mock training to the caution group in the future.”