When we hear about accidents or fatalities happening at other facilities, it’s heartbreaking. But it reconfirms why here, at The Wildcat Sanctuary, human safety has always been the #1 Strategic Anchor our sanctuary’s built upon.
We realize that, without making safety a priority, it jeopardizes the lives of all the animals we’ve worked so hard to rescue and the compassionate people who care for them.
Safety protocol is built into every aspect of our day and is a training priority. New interns and caretakers are trained in all safety protocols and procedures in multiple ways. From reviewing the animal care and safety manual, power point presentations, on-the-job training, and going over safety scenarios.
Interns and staff are also tested on the information and must be observed and checked off by lead staff, prior to working in the field.
We believe we can never implement too much safety training. That’s why staff and interns also participate in quarterly drills. Situations are thrown at them that might randomly occur, such as dangerous animal scenarios or natural disasters.
Our caretakers are all required to participate in fire arms, chemical immobilization (tranquilizing), first aid, CPR, and AED training. Safety equipment is kept in all central animal buildings, including vital animal diversion methods, recapture supplies, and first aid items.
Our caretakers and interns work in pairs, each responsible for double checking doors, locks, animal location, habitat security, and a long list of other safety protocol during every part of their workday. Redundancy is built into all of our daily practices to prevent error.
Our habitats are built using high strength cattle panel (not chain link fencing) with welded steel doors that can withstand the power of a tiger or lion. As our their indoor bedroom areas.
One of our caretakers is an appointed Safety Captain. She maintains and manages all safety equipment, as well as safety drill planning, as part of her job description. We also share any presentations from other sanctuaries or organizations that discuss safety rules, crisis plans, case studies, etc.
Over 20 years, our safety record is something we’re very proud of. But, we know tragedies can happen at any time, so we must be vigilant.
When something happens at another facility, we get together to discuss what went wrong and how we would have handled that type of situation. You can never review protocol enough.
As long as we all stay informed and follow critical safety guidelines, it’s one more way we can assure the cats we rescue live out their lives safely here, wild at heart and the people that care for them safe.