Inspectors find suffering and unnecessary deaths at South Lakes Safari Zoo
Controversy surrounding South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria has been going on for years. Of course, many of us will remember the tragic death of Sarah McClay who died when attacked by a Sumatran tiger who had managed to escape through an unlocked gate. Aside from these obvious health and safety concerns which the owner was eventually prosecuted for, concerns about the animals were raised with us by members of the public. This led to us closely monitoring the zoo, as we do with many zoos around the country.
When the Zoo License for the zoo was up for renewal in July 2016, the council chose not to renew it, a strong action from the council which indicated major problems at the zoo. On a visit we carried out at the zoo later that month, our investigators filmed and photographed animals with health or welfare concerns on display to the public like those shown below. On one of the hottest days of the year, the penguins were a sad sight to see with no water in their pool for them to swim in. There were no signs explaining why and no keepers to be seen.
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Major and local newspapers across the UK reported on the story today, including the Guardian, The Times and the BBC.
A keeper at the zoo informed inspectors that she was told by the management ‘if there were any further deaths, she was to just dispose of the bodies and not to tell anyone.’
Inspectors have quite clearly stated that the blame falls to David Gill, the licence holder, for the suffering and some of the deaths of the animals. They concluded in a report to the council ‘The conditions that theses animals are being held in, is quite frankly appalling, and has led directly to the death of a number of them.’ They advised the council to prosecute David Gill under Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act for allowing the animals to suffer.
SAV Comment – It all looks very impressive on their website; but does reality show another truth ?
A statement from our friends at the Captive Animals Protection Society (CAPS)
We submitted all of our findings to the local council who have welcomed us to join their committee meeting NEXT Monday, 6th March.
Here they will discuss and decide on the latest application to renew the zoo licence.
Our Campaigns Director, Nicola O’Brien and I will be there to represent you and the animals, to push for the application to be rejected and for the zoo to be closed down for good.