Drunk woman who stumbled into elephant exhibit inspires new Denver Zoo signage

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More photos below.
Denver Zoo has posted additional signage warning people to stay out of the elephant exhibit, says zoo spokeswoman Tiffany Barnhart.

The move comes in the wake of an incident on December 23 in which an intoxicated 21-year-old woman made her way past the barriers and into the elephant enclosure, apparently in search of a restroom. Kelly Flynn was attending Zoo Lights, an evening event at the zoo where alcoholic beverages are served, when she began feeling ill, her father told 7News.

In her search for a restroom, Flynn wound up inside Toyota Elephant Passage, the zoo's $50 million elephant, rhino and tapir exhibit, which opened in June 2012. Barnhart says that another guest spotted Flynn inside the animal enclosure and alerted a zoo volunteer. That volunteer radioed zoo staff, Barnhart says, and staff members responded to the exhibit. By the time they arrived, however, Barnhart says Flynn had made her way past an electric fence and out of the enclosure. The zoo's four elephants -- Kimbo, Dolly, Bodhi and Groucho -- were not in the yard at the time.

"She's a very, very lucky person," Barnhart says.

Flynn was not electrocuted, as the police originally feared -- but she was taken to the hospital for intoxication and subsequently charged with trespassing.

Barnhart says the zoo called Flynn's family to make sure she was okay and to figure out exactly how she got into the enclosure. Flynn was not injured and the month-long Zoo Lights event ended on January 5 without further incident. Though the zoo hasn't made any permanent changes to the elephant exhibit, Barnhart says it did install the extra signage to help ensure that what happened with Flynn doesn't happen again.

Watch 7News's report and see more photos of Toyota Elephant Passage below.

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Melanie Asmar
Bodhi the elephant waves to a crowd in June 2012.

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Melanie Asmar
Bodhi takes a dust bath behind an electric fence in June 2012.

More from our News archive: "Denver Zoo welcomes Kimbo the elephant, a new companion for grande dame Dolly."


Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com


My Voice Nation Help
20 comments
Raquel Ch
Raquel Ch

There's always that one stupid fuck that fucks it up for everyone else

bylagoon
bylagoon

When the Zoo sells alcohol they have to assume some degree of responsibility.They should be on alert that an inebriated person could get into prohibited animal areas when you sell alcohol. New trespassing signs will not make a difference.If drunk people read signs she would not have found her way into the elephant area and touched a electrical wire in the first place. 

Sterling Meeks
Sterling Meeks

In the good ole days, people had their hands "permanently confiscated" for similar behavior.

Annie Epperson
Annie Epperson

I suspect if she was that trashed she wouldn't have read the signs telling her not to scale fences. For example, there are signs pointing to RESTROOMS right near the elephant compound! Duh.

Ski Steve
Ski Steve

If the signs cover every possibility then we don't have to care if they die.

Ryan Knaub
Ryan Knaub

Shelby Knaub there ya go. it's true.

Jean Hawk
Jean Hawk

You just can't fix stupid!!! She's lucky she didn't get stomped into a mudhole!!!!!!

Kristi Adducci
Kristi Adducci

SIGH - what is wrong with people?? Do they need their hand held for everything!?!?!?

FreshyMap
FreshyMap

A drunk person managed to accidentally wander into life threatening hazards and she's the one facing legal consequences? 

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@bylagoon Interesting post, bylagoon. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks.

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