We’ve seen it time and time again that when animals do “human-like” things, it makes news.
It even happens when animals do animal-like things, such as the recent incident at the Wildlife World Zoo west of Phoenix when a jaguar clawed a patron and pinned her to the outside of the cage after she had climbed over a barrier to get a selfie with the cat.
You can bet the zoo’s crisis communications team was ready for such an incident. As we would with our clients, we would prepare them in advance for a variety of crisis situations. You always hope you never need to fall back on the training for such – but occasionally the planning pays off.
Headlines in the days after the incident lauded the zoo for how it handled things.
Our team was not involved, but you know that once zoo officials learned of the incident they:
And maybe the trump card in all of it, the local zoo referred reporters to an outside source for a comment, resulting in this quote:
“The institution did everything right,” said John Seyjagat, executive director of the Zoological Association of America. “The one thing we don’t have protocols for is testing people for being stupid when they come through your doors.”
It’s maybe not politically correct, but spot-on.
Reports state the woman apologized to the zoo for the backlash caused by media reports of the incident.