Animal welfare advocates have tried getting South Lakes Safari Zoo shut down after 486 animal deaths, many of them preventable. Even though the U.K.-based zoo was denied a license renewal, it remains open because the zoo’s CEO formed a new company and applied for a license under that name. It was approved and animal lovers everywhere are outraged.
According to The Dodo, earlier this year, animal advocates tried to get South Lakes Safari Zoo shut down. Over the past four years, nearly 500 animals have died and many of them were preventable. A giraffe with bleeding horns, an emaciated kangaroo, penguins with no water despite the hot temperatures, and a lemur with a sore on its side were just a few examples.
Even though a local council decided not to renew the zoo’s license, the owner, David Gill, was given 29 days to file an appeal. Recently, CEO Karen Brewer decided to create a new company, Cumbria Zoo, and applied for a license under that name. This week, it was approved and animal advocates are worried that the conditions and neglect these animals have been subjected to will not improve.
A few months ago, a Cumbria Zoo spokesperson told The Dodo that they were going to alleviate the issues that have animal advocates so worried. The spokesperson added that the new company was “committed” to giving the animals a high standard of care. However, animal advocates are unsure, especially if the same people as before are running the zoo. It was claimed that the original owner is no longer involved, but what about the caretakers? Madeline Taylor, a campaigns officer for Captive Animals’ Protection Society, expressed her concern.
“It just seems to be really inappropriate that they [the council] would consider that applicant to be an appropriate person to run the zoo given the history… From our point of view, it’s likely that they were going to make improvements if they wanted to succeed in getting the license, but that doesn’t take away that there’s been welfare concerns — serious ones — highlighted for years now.”
In 2016, Captive Animals’ Protection Society visited the U.K.-based zoo. They were horrified at what they witnessed and took photographs. Those images are on its Facebook page. As a warning, some of those pictures are graphic. They show a giraffe with painful, bleeding horns and a mongoose with a skin condition that caused the fur to fall out. Penguins were seen with barely any water, even though it was a hot day. Also, a kangaroo lay on the ground in an awkward position, emaciated.
Unfortunately, this zoo is not the only case of animals being abused, mistreated, and/or neglected. According to CAPS, it is happening at zoos all around the world.
“This isn’t a standalone case. We get regular complaints about zoos around the world. This one looked particularly bad because of all the postmortem reports came out with details about why the animals have died, but that is something that’s not normally available.”
Nearly 500 animals have died in the past four years at Cumbria Zoo. That is an astonishingly high number. Advocates and animal lovers seem to agree that something is very wrong, especially when many of the deaths were preventable.
What do you think of South Lakes Safari Zoo remaining open and changing its name to Cumbria Zoo? Will these poor animals get the help they need or do more lives need to be lost before anything is done? Does it surprise you that abuse, mistreatment, and neglect is a common theme at zoos around the world?
[Featured Image by Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images]