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Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium's CEO expected to address the death of 5 animals in last 7 months

Pittsburgh Zoo CEO expected to speak on Monday
Pittsburgh Zoo CEO expected to speak on Monday 02:08

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - For the first time, the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium's CEO is expected to speak to the media following the death of five animals over the last seven months. 

The latest death, an 18-year-old sea lion, happened a little over a week ago. 

KDKA has put in numerous requests to speak with the zoo's CEO regarding the five deaths and tomorrow he is finally expected to speak. 

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums Accreditation is viewed as the gold standard for zoos across the world - ensuring that animals and visitors are safe and treated well. 


The Pittsburgh Zoo has been working on getting back into it since 2021. 

It left the program in 2015 over its elephant handling policy and the head of the AZA said he's aware of the deaths of a gorilla, elephant, and sea lion. 

They were not aware of the deaths of a red panda and lion last summer because the zoo is not required to report any deaths since it is no longer accredited. 

He told us so far there does not appear to be any connection between all of the deaths and they're not expected to impact the zoo's path back to accreditation. 

Humane Action Pittsburgh said it's a necessity for a zoo and based on its lease with the city, the zoo has been in breach of it by not being accredited. 

Currently, the zoo is accredited by the Zoological Association of America which the AZA CEO said has lower standards and was established to promote the private ownership of exotic animals. 

The Pittsburgh Zoo's lease with the city expired at the end of 2022 but City Council gave them a one-year extension to the end of last year. 

We have reached out to the mayor's office - which is responsible for negotiating the lease - and they said they're looking into it. 

The Pittsburgh Zoo's CEO is expected to speak on Monday at 10 a.m. 

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