Magazine article Security Management

Lion's Share of Security

Magazine article Security Management

Lion's Share of Security

Article excerpt

Officials at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., have been reviewing security since last March when an Arkansas woman on an apparent suicide mission was mauled to death in the lion's den. Management faced the challenge of raising roadblocks for those in search of trouble while maintaining an open environment for the zoo's thousands of well meaning visitors. A two-step solution has been adopted.

The first step is a modest adjustment: to further hinder unauthorized access, the lower part of a sloping wall that leads from the visitors' area toward the lions' lair now has bricks in triangular configurations along the top. This modification makes climbing the structure more difficult.

The second measure extends security's watchful eye with a new video surveillance system that will target the lion and tiger exhibit. The system is expected to be in place this month.

The additional CCTV equipment augments safety measures that, according to zoo spokesperson Bob Hoage, make it "virtually impossible to fall into any exhibit by accident." For years, visitors have been separated from the lion's den by a railing and a planter, as well as by a nine- to ten-foot sheer drop to a water-filled moat. …

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