According to their website, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in California has “a porcupine, an anteaters (sic), macaws and other fascinating creatures.” Which includes tigers. And cougars. And elephants. According to the park’s former “animal escape marksman,” Six Flags’ “armed crisis team” is understaffed and unprepared. Mercurynews.com reports that “Dale Udell of Fairfield was a former leader of the park’s rifle team, intended as a last resort in case a potentially dangerous animal gets loose and/or attacks . . . In 2008, the park’s rifle team had 14 members and engaged in regular training and drills, Udell said. He says the team was allowed to dwindle to two members and there have been no drills or training sessions in more than a year.” The park’s spinmeister denied the charge, insisting that the team had—uh “has” 10 shooters. Udell says its news to him. And if he’s right—if the team has been suddenly increased for PR purposes, that ain’t good.
“In the park’s history there have been several serious animal-related episodes. These include the August 1998 mauling of a San Jose woman by a 340-pound Bengal tiger during a photo session at the park and a June 2004 incident in which a 7,000-pound African elephant gored and seriously injured a trainer.” Gored AND seriously injured? Ouch. “We are professionals and we have effective and efficient safety measures in place and we know what we’re doing,” the park’s spokeswoman said. You betcha life!