Emergency Planning for

Zoological Institutions

Disasters and crisis events impact upon the lives of millions of people each year. Within minutes, a disaster can unexpectedly tear apart a community or place of work and change the lives of the people it affects forever. How well prepared is your Zoo (or place of work) for a disaster?

I have personally experienced a disaster which not only saw the loss of my place of work and many of the animals I cared for, but also my heritage listed home "Rock Valley Homestead" and all of my personal possessions, including an extensive natural history library. One of only two books to survive was a copy of "Resources for Crisis Management in Zoos and Other Animal Care Facilities" (AAZK, 1999) which I had lent to a colleague!

The "Disaster & Emergency Planning Guidelines" have been written in an effort to help others prepare for the unexpected. These guidelines have been drawn from first hand experiences gained at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, along with almost three decades of experience working in the zoological industry.

You must understand what to expect and plan towards minimising the impacts before disaster strikes! It is not a matter of "if" a disaster will strike - simply a question of "when".

Download "Disaster & Emergency Planning Guidelines"

The Education Centre the day after the firestorm struck.

Download a photographic record of the Tidbinbilla fires.
(Note: Some images may be disturbing)


Download a copy of the e-mail sent immediately after the fires


  • Note: The article "Disaster & Emergency Planning Guidelines" has now been published in the November/December 2007 edition of the AAZK's "Animal Keeper Forum", which is dedicated to the issue of "Crisis Management in Zoos". Go here to view a table of contents or to order a copy of this publication.










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Revised: 11-06-2020.