Providing Safety
Safety measures bear enclosure

Safeguarding the spectacled bear enclosure at the Amersfoort Zoo

There is a strong focus on safety in the Amersfoort Zoo, for the animals as well as for visitors and caretakers. When developing or upgrading new animal enclosures, the safety and well-being of the animals are therefore a top priority.

To guarantee this safety and to prevent outbreaks, Amersfoort Zoo chose to work with Unique Safety Products in safeguarding the new spectacled bear enclosure.

Watch our video about the new safety system in Amersfoort Zoo

A new accommodation with new safety measures
The Amersfoort Zoo and Unique Safety Products have partnered in finding the best possible safety solution for the new enclosure for the spectacled bears. The spectacled bears in Amersfoort Zoo have been residents of the zoo since 2021 and are currently the only spectacled bears in the Netherlands. The bears have taken up residence in the old enclosure of the brown bears.

In the wild, spectacled bears live in the Andes, South America. These bears live there in the trees and regularly climb treetops. To create the ideal habitat for the new residents, the old brown bear enclosure has been specially remodelled and adapted to the natural habitat of the spectacled bears

This newly rebuilt enclosure naturally includes new safety measures. While selecting the right solution to guarantee safety, it was important that it be a compulsory system, which minimises the possibility of making mistakes. Incorrectly closing animal enclosures can have major consequences for both humans and animals.

The right solution: mGard Trapped Key System
The right solution for safeguarding this animal enclosure is using the Fortress Interlocks’ mGard Trapped Key System. The mGard Trapped Key System works by releasing and locking uniquely coded keys in a predetermined sequence. It is a mechanical key transfer system that has already proven itself in safeguarding a wide range of machines, processes, roller coasters and animal enclosures.

How does this Trapped Key System work?

The spectacled bear enclosure in Amersfoort Zoo consists of an outdoor enclosure, a separation area and two indoor enclosures, separated by hatches. Each area is accessible to the caretakers by a door. Due to the Trapped Key System, two doors and hatches adjacent to the same room can never be opened simultaneously.

The doors and hatches are fitted with mechanical locks. To open a door, the keys are required from the locks of the hatches adjacent to the same room as the door. A key can only be released from the lock of a hatch when this hatch is closed. This hatch cannot be opened until the key is inserted back into the lock.

How to prevent an outbreak in a bear enclosure
Opening door A
To open door A, the keys from the red, blue and orange hatch must be entered. These hatches must first be closed to release the keys.

Opening door B
To open door B, the keys from the green, white and blue hatch must be entered. These hatches must first be closed to release the keys.

Opening door C
To open door C, the keys must be inserted from the green, white and orange hatch. These hatches must first be closed to release the keys.

Opening door D
To open door D, the key from the red hatch
has to be inserted. This hatch must first be
closed to release the key.
Opening door E
To open door E, the key from the red hatch
has to be inserted. This hatch must first be
closed to release the key.

How to open door A
Imagine you are standing in front of door A and want to enter the separation area. You don’t want someone else to open the hatch to the separation room when you are in it. Then the spectacled bears can get to you, making the situation unsafe.

To open door A safely, you need the keys from hatches red, orange and blue. These hatches must be closed to release the keys from these locks. All these keys must then be inserted into the switch on door A to open the door.

As long as door A is open, the keys are trapped in the lock on the door. So the locks on the hatches are now missing keys and therefore cannot be opened. This system, therefore, ensures that either the door can be opened or the hatches. They can never be opened at the same time.

Bear enclosure prevent entrapment and escape

Using a safety key
The lock on the door, in this case door A, is also fitted with a personal safety key. The caretaker takes this yellow key inside. As long as this key is not inserted in the lock on the door, the door cannot be closed and the caretaker does not get locked in the separation room.

How to open door B,C,D & E
This same situation is found at doors B and C. Door B only opens when the keys from the blue, white and green hatch are inserted in the lock on door C. Door C only opens when the keys from the green, white and orange hatch are inserted in the lock on door C. Doors D and E both open when the key from the red hatch is inserted into their lock.

safety measures bear enclosure

Products used in this application:


Heavy duty modular stainless steel safety switches

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