PALM DESERT, Calif. -

The U.S. Department of Agriculture does routine inspections at the Living Desert Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Palm Desert once a year. This year, the zoo failed to meet several safety requirements.

The California Sanctuary Association contacted us with US Department of Agriculture and California Fish and Wildlife inspection reports, dated March 26. The USDA report reveals barriers between zoo visitors and the animals did not meet standards, that includes the mountain lion exhibit.

"The inspector felt there was a little bit of a gap between some of the fencing and wires to keep the public back and the animals in their enclosure," said Living Desert President Allen Monroe.

The report also recommended the zoo take steps immediately to fix them.

"We use small electrical wires to make sure animals do not approach the area. We've added more of those to keep a safe distance back. They recognize those are not areas they're allowed to go to," said Monroe.

In addition to its usual pool of water, the Living Desert said it added more steel piano wire to protect the public.
Monroe showed the new changes at the porcupine exhibit.

"The inspector was worried that a visitor could reach their arms over this retaining wall. We put this secondary fence to keep public back a little bit further," he said.

The zoo welcomes inspections.
     
"We want to ensure our visitors have a great safe experience here and the animals get the best care they can," he said.