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Zoo study calls for improved organization after animal deaths

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Friends and fans of Chattanooga's late chimpanzee resident, Hank, take their seats before a memorial in his honor at the Chattanooga Zoo on Feb. 5, 2011. / Jake Daniels. Times Free Press. Friends and fans of Chattanooga's late chimpanzee resident, Hank, take their seats before a memorial in his honor at the Chattanooga Zoo on Feb. 5, 2011. / Jake Daniels. Times Free Press.

CHATTANOOGA (Times Free Press) - A $25,000 private consulting report announced by board members of the Friends of the Chattanooga Zoo on the heels of 10 animal deaths last winter calls for improved organization at the zoo.

"The zoo's organizational structure needs to be strengthened to maximize efficiencies and create clear lines of accountability," consultant David Walsh of Schultz & Williams told a committee of the Chattanooga City Council on Tuesday afternoon.

An onscreen report he showed the council listed five priority areas for the zoo, and the first was "Organization: Invest in building and developing the key asset of the zoo -- its staff -- by adding key positions, clearly defining roles, and formulating zoowide policies and procedures."

Walsh said some of staff changes have begun already, with the addition of a full-time staff veterinarian technician in May to increase vet time with the animals.

Read more on this story from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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