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Zoo Officials View Animals From a Difficult Perspective

Some of the San Diego Zoo’s principal managers toured the zoo this week.

They noticed how slippery the asphalt can be when it is wet, how steep some of the hills are, and how protective rails can obscure their view. This was all news to them, for it was the first time they had toured the zoo in wheelchairs, officials said.

In an effort to make the zoo more accessible to wheelchair visitors, the zoo had more than a dozen department managers tour the zoo in wheelchairs Tuesday morning, said Georgeanne Irvine, public relations manager for the San Diego Zoo.

The managers invited Wes Johnson of Accessible San Diego, an advocacy and consulting group for the wheelchair-bound, to help detail the zoo’s shortcomings.

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“Basically what they were looking for were potentially dangerous situations,” Johnson said.

“I also pointed out some areas for improvement of accessibility. It needs improvement now,” Johnson said.

The zoo is acting, in part, to comply with standards of the American Disability Act, the enforcement of which will begin in January, 1992, Johnson said. Officials now will draw up concrete plans to improve the zoo for wheelchair guests, Irvine said.

“We won’t upgrade all at once, but as we add attractions and improve the zoo, we will keep (accessibility) in mind,” Irvine said.

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