Taronga Zoo Director Cameron Kerr has received an update on the condition of keeper Lucy Melo today.
“We’re incredibly pleased to get an update from Lucy’s family that she is alert and making progress in her recovery.
“In the meantime the Taronga team continues to care for all the elephants and support the activities of investigators to learn more about the events the lead up to the injury last week”, he said.
Two investigations are underway, the first being undertaken by Work Cover investigators to review the Zoo’s procedures for working with elephants.
Taronga Zoo’s Life Sciences Division is also conducting an independent investigation into the events that led to the injury.
This will include complex behavioural assessments of the male elephant calf, Pathi Harn. The Life Sciences investigation is expected to take some weeks.
Taronga has extremely rigorous safety procedures and facilities in place, and these will be reassessed as part of the investigation.
Taronga’s successes in its elephant program to date are based on the keepers’ use of operant conditioning, which involves rewarding cooperative behaviours.
The zoo manages its elephants in both free and protected contact depending on individual animal requirements.
Taronga’s Elephant Manager, with over 35 years experience working with elephants, is also continuing to assess and review daily operations.