3 workers fired after Austin Zoo investigates leak to media

Austin, Texas skyline. (Cropped Photo: Erik A. Ellison / CC BY-SA 3.0)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Three zookeepers have been fired from the Austin Zoo following a newspaper's investigation into animal mistreatment that quoted one of the workers detailing how a sick monkey was kept alive that zookeepers believed needed to be euthanized.

Zoo board members say all decisions were made based on violations of professional conduct.

Kris Ledoux says she was suspended after the Austin American-Statesman published its investigation in January. The zoo says Ledoux was terminated Feb. 23 for insubordination.

The newspaper reports the zoo's attorney also questioned Nikki Steffan and Stephanie Crider about whether they had contributed to the story. Neither was quoted in the article. Crider says both were fired Feb. 28 for reasons that included taking lunches longer than 30 minutes.

The newspaper reported that most of the zoo workers it interviewed described an unwillingness by zoo leadership to euthanize suffering animals, among other concerns.