Safety and The Big Cats
Senior Advisor, Health and Safety,
Presentation package now available (members only)
Injuries and fatalities from contact between people and animals are known to be a high risk in zoos worldwide.
At Zoos Victoria a special program for working with dangerous animals is being supported by Jason Hensel, Senior Advisor, Health and Safety, who gave a presentation on this subject to Central Safety Group on 8 May.
Jason discussed how he has drawn on safety programs from a number of industries to develop effective and consistent controls for the safe keeping of all animals likely to endanger human life, known as Category 1 Animals.
Melbourne Zoo has 20 species of animal that fall into this category – ranging from the big cats to gorillas, hippopotamuses and African wild dogs. Jason has been working on risk assessments and safety systems for each of these, taking into account physical, mechanical, animal behaviour and human factors.
This initiative is part of Zoos Victoria’s aim to become a world leader in zoo safety. Zoos around the world put a sharp spotlight on safety following incidents such as a child falling into a gorilla exhibit at Cincinnati Zoo and the death of a keeper at New Zealand’s Hamilton Zoo.
Jason Hensel has been in his present role with Zoos Victoria since 2016. Before that, he worked in safety roles with Veolia Environmental Services and in OHS, process improvement and project management roles with Visy Industries.
He began his career as an electrical engineer with Southcorp Packaging, having graduated in this field from RMIT. He also has an Advanced Diploma in HS&E from RMIT.