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South Lakes Safari Zoo looses licence extension.

(35 Posts)
POGS Mon 06-Mar-17 16:24:17

I had never heard of South Lakes Safari Zoo until I read about it in the Daily Mail but after seeing the photos and understand the dire conditions , animal cruelty the poor animals suffered I was pleased to hear today the Council has refused to extend the Zoos Licence.

I can't get my head around the fact things obviously were allowed to carry on for so long, surely to goodness there was so much obvious knowledge regarding the conditions somebody must have reported / noticed what was going on.

How sad.

Elegran Wed 08-Mar-17 08:06:26

SLSP may have been caught in a spiral of disaster - dropping visitor numbers after the tiger attack, leading to lower gate money and less income to do maintenance and buy in feedstuffs, then an emphasis on continuously producing attractive babies to pull in more visitors and get the funds up, without considering the need to house and care for those animals as they got older, which all then led to overcrowding, bad nutrition and lack of health care. Add in an owner who couldn't cope and had lost interest and things would go from bad to worse very quickly.

Managing a zoo is not like either any other kind of visitor attraction or a farm. There has to be a balance between the business side of balancing the books, the educational and environmental side, and the responsibility of managing the long-term lives of many different species.

gillybob Tue 07-Mar-17 22:17:44

Have just read today that other zoos have a smililar (if not higher) incidence of animal deaths in the same period . The figure given (to condemn) South Lakes is similar to other "highly regarded" zoos. Animals die and are sadly euthanized for various reasons and I think we should look at the figures and compare them (fairly) before we condemn South Lakes Safari Park. Apparently (and I quote) "EAZA does not publish records or advertise the number of healthy animals that die and are euthanized every year. However the executive director estimates that this number iis somewhere between 3000 and 5000 every year in European zoos. But this could be anything from a tadpole to a giraffe"
Still not entirely sure that there is more to this than meets the eye.

Elegran Tue 07-Mar-17 20:17:39

They don't name them - I hope that they have reported the names to SOMEONE so that they can be identified and action taken to have them charged with offences. If BIAZA members are among them - which they should not be! - then I assume that they would be struck off and no longer be able to display the logo and claim to be up to the required standard.

Jalima Tue 07-Mar-17 19:44:32

The Captive Animals' Prevention Society, a watchdog that investigates UK zoos, said that animals were also at risk at other attractions
There's a lot of stuff we know about and it's not the case that they are squeaky clean
It said that it had identified at least eight zoos, which it did not name, as being a cause for concern following tip-offs from former employees and members of the public.

Maddy Taylor, the group's campaigns officer, told The Times: "SLSZ is a particularly bad case but things are happening in zoos around the country and people don't know about it

Elegran Tue 07-Mar-17 16:24:43

BIAZA home page
and Find a BIAZA zoo or aquarium

Elegran Tue 07-Mar-17 16:07:44

I expect the snow leopards and Sumatran tigers could be found homes (if zoos who are prepared to take them have suitable enclosures - which are very expensive to build to the proper standard, and can't be done in a hurry)

I have been reading some accounts of the many deaths, and a few of them (not all) seem unavoidable. One giraffe was euthanased when it couldn't stand. Giraffes are notoriously suseptible to problems if they fall, and difficult to get back on their feet, and it may be that euthanasia was better than leaving it to suffer. The other giraffe is thought to have died of an e. coli enfection. As the zoo allows visitors to feed the giraffes, perhaps it acquired that from a visitor, and perhaps exposing the animals to bugs brought in from outside is not a good thing?

Jalima Tue 07-Mar-17 15:39:57

How could they have got away with this for so long - is there no system for routine inspections except by councils when the licence is up for renewal?

Deedaa Tue 07-Mar-17 15:35:03

It's worrying that they have some very endangered animals, Snow Leopards and Sumatran Tigers for instance which will now need a home.

Jalima Tue 07-Mar-17 15:30:15

I would visit a well-run zoo - you can, of course, check them out online to find out their 'mission statement' on conservation.

Bristol Zoo is supposed to fund wonderful conservation projects but their lions are kept in a very small enclosure and get distressed by late night events held there.
Two sides to the story:

Jalima Tue 07-Mar-17 15:23:02

sorry, not a link, your post.

Jalima Tue 07-Mar-17 15:21:54

Thanks Elegran
I must confess I didn't read your link before I posted a reply to Hopehope as I was rushing out

Elegran Tue 07-Mar-17 10:59:40

It may not have been space decreasing, but popuilation increasing.

When you visit a zoo, what is it that you most want to see? Cute babies! A zoo or safari park without babies is a sterile environment for beasts and visitors alike. The ethos these days is to make sure that the animals live as close as possible as they would in the wild, which includes mating and producing young, but that needs to be controlled.

Cuddly creatures are very nice for all, but babies have a habit of growing up, and what do you do with them then?
Keep them? you'll need more space, and you'll need to keep them away from their parents if they are likely to have fights, or breed incestuously.
Send them to another establishment? If it is a rare and attractive specimen, they will be grateful, but not if it is yet another of something they already have enough of.
Euthanase them? Only if you want to be on the front page of the daily papers.
Feed them to the lions and tigers? Imagine the headlines!!!

One of the funcions of BIAZA and the other associations is to be a kind of dating agency for zoo animals. They keep studbooks with the ancestry etc of all the animals in collections, and advise on which should be allowed to breed, and with which mate. This prevents close interbreeding, and warns if one species is becomeing over-represented so breeding should be completely stopped for a while. They also oversee the movement of animals from one zoo to another, as well as their husbandry.

So pleas support zoos and wildlife parks which are members of BIAZA, and boycott ones which are not.

Elegran Tue 07-Mar-17 10:41:39

Hopehope Jalima I was NOT quoting a link, but the account sheet of my own local (Edinburgh) Zoo, and I know that other big-name zoos also support conservation and education. They work hard to increase knowledge of how animals SHOULD be kept. That is not just ion zoos, but in places where there is ignorance about native animals, and conflict between them and the people who live and work near them.
Do look at this link -
Gilly Please don't cancel your visit because of this tragedy - and let me know when you will be in Edinburgh!

Was that South Lakes Safari Zoo a member of BIAZA - the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria? Most of the reputable zoos in this country belong to that, and if they don't then they are working towards raising their standards until they can be admitted. Before visiting any establishment which keeps animals you should check this.

There is also a European Association and a World Association (and probably a lot more) Some countries are not very good at animal husbandry and need reminders. In general, this country is far better than it was a generation ago. News items likme this are the exception rather than the rule.

gillybob Tue 07-Mar-17 10:35:58

Of course non of us can really know what goes on behind the scenes or after a zoo or safari park has closed for the night. I am not sure about the RSPCA either Jalima. I have decided not to read the report and prefer to stay in a blissful world of pure ignorance as I have got enough to lose sleep over at the minute.

Jalima Tue 07-Mar-17 10:10:14

Hopehope you could be right and the public is being sold a myth:

Jalima Tue 07-Mar-17 10:04:58

I wondered, too, about the RSPCA and if they had been involved at all; some of the pictures looked truly shocking.
I have heard that the RSPCA is more keen on a political agenda and is very quick to put animals down than try to save and re-home them though.

Yes, animal conservation is a large part of the agenda of some zoos.

nina1959 Tue 07-Mar-17 08:53:49

According to a past employee, health and safety both created and exacerbated many of the problems. I wonder what will become of the animals?

BlueBelle Tue 07-Mar-17 05:06:09

I don't know the zoo myself , I don't agree with zoos BUT if Gillybob visited last year and it was good with plenty of animal space can it have got this bad so quickly how can space decrease in such a short space of time
Aren't zoos visited at least annually by RSPCA or equivalent if so many animals have died over the last four years why has it taken so long to raise questions

Hopehope Tue 07-Mar-17 00:01:29

IK should have said I !!

Hopehope Tue 07-Mar-17 00:00:57

I don't think IK can stand to read the full thing either to be honest. I know that is very weak of ne, but I have enough things to upset me without looking for more. That does not mean I don't care. I care a great deal. Of course I went to the Zoo as a child, My Parents thought it a good day out. As soon as I could think for myself I hated Zoos and all that they stand for. I truly do not believe that they do alot of good conservation wise, it is all about making money, and I would doubt what Elegran says about the money being spent on conservation projects.
I don't mean that I doubt Elegran, obviously she has found a link, but I don't believe the infornation. Oh dear I won't sleep now thinking about all this neglect and cruelty.

gillybob Mon 06-Mar-17 22:26:47

It certainly wasn't like that last year when we visited jusnoneed quite the contrary in fact. All the animals looked like they had loads of space and good enclosures which were certainly not tatty or muddy either. Surely things couldn't have got so bad so quickly?

jusnoneed Mon 06-Mar-17 22:23:43

Watching the news tonight, if the pictures they showed of a lion and a tiger in muddy, tatty wire fenced enclosures is how the place is I am amazed it has been allowed to be open. It looked awful.

Scooter58 Mon 06-Mar-17 22:21:05

Have also visited this park and we all really enjoyed our day,was 3 years ago and at that time all appeared fine.

mumofmadboys Mon 06-Mar-17 21:56:27

We have also been there a number of times. Last time was probably 5-6 years ago. Appeared fine to us.

gillybob Mon 06-Mar-17 21:34:15

I have visited South Lakes safari park with my DGC on many occasions in fact I think we have visited almost every year (except for a time when it was closed for some refurbishment). We always commented on how good the animal pens looked and that they were nice and large and natural looking. I really can't believe things have got so bad and the cynical side of me wonders if the land is earmarked for something else hmm I have decided not to read the full case as I might find it upsetting reading . The zoo was very reasonably priced to get into, so they couldn't have made much money and they did carry out a huge refurbishment recently. My DGC love animals and especially loved hand feeding the giraffes. We were planning a (long promised) visit to Edinburgh zoo this year. I am not sure I want to visit any zoo again .