WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society has made the decision not to allow a patron observed photographing a minor child to return to the Zoo.
“We are a private institution, and we take the safety of our patrons and employees seriously,” said Zoo President & CEO Andrew Aiken. “We met today to discuss the situation and decided that the best course of action would be to prohibit the individual from patronizing our institution in the future.”
Police were called when the patron was observed photographing the child in the Zoo’s Fountain Plaza area without parental consent. The man was not charged and after being interviewed by police left the Zoo. Social media reports have erroneously claimed that the patron was concealing his identity by dressing in a Zoo uniform. The Zoo would like to clarify that he was not wearing a Zoo uniform, and he is not a Zoo employee or volunteer.
“The proper course of action would have been for the photographer to first ask for permission before taking pictures of the minor child,” explained Aiken. “Professional and amateur photographers understand that cameras can be extremely invasive. Safety and privacy concerns should always take precedence.”
The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society is privately run. The Zoo performs thorough background checks on all of its employees and volunteers. The Zoo also performs quarterly safety training for its staff.