Zoos seem to keep making the news these days, but sadly, it is not for good reason.
Horrific reports are now being released stemming from the appalling euthanasia of seven healthy lion cubs late last August at the South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria, Britain. Just five days old at the time, the Cubs were allegedly killed because the zoo did not have adequate space for them.
According to the Daily Mail, close to 500 animals have died at the zoo in a staggering mere five years.
Animal welfare charities are advocating for the zoo to be shut down after a disturbingly long list of animal deaths and injuries have been revealed.
“Our visit to the zoo combined with the zoo inspectors’ reports shows high death rates of animals, animals in ill health and a lack of understanding about how to meet even the most basic needs of the animals under their care,” said Maddie Taylor, campaigns officer at the Captive Animal Protection Society, a charity which campaigns for zoos to be abolished, who claimed the findings were the worst they had come across in six decades. “We urge the local authority to take action by closing this appalling zoo down”.
“It’s not good enough,” continued Taylor. “The way that the Zoo Licensing Act works and the way that the inspections work isn’t looking after the welfare of the animals enough. This is a prime example of that.”
Chris Draper, of the Born Free Foundation, agrees. “The inspection reports and observations we have seen outline a host of deeply concerning problems relating to animal welfare and human safety at the zoo,” he said. “Entirely preventable animal deaths, welfare problems, failures in vet care and management issues appear to be rife at this zoo and it is clear that the current system for licensing and inspection of zoos is, in part, to blame for the ongoing problems.”
The blemished zoo was quickly inspected prior to an emergency meeting that has been scheduled for next week. The Barrow Borough Council which will review the documents, which attribute mismanagement, emancipation, hypothermia, trauma and infighting caused by overstock pens, among the reasons for the exceptionally high mortality rate, before deciding whether to approve or deny a new license.
Not surprisingly, the reports also reveal cases of zoo keepers still being placed in danger; even after zookeeper Sarah McClay, 24, was tragically mauled to death in 2013 by a 14-year-old Sumatran tiger while she was cleaning its enclosure.
The tiger’s life was spared at the request of Ms. McClay’s family, but he was later allegedly euthanized because of his age.
The euthanized lion cubs marked the latest victims in an unacceptable series of senseless deaths of animals at zoos; including the 2014 decision by the Copenhagen Zoo to put down a healthy giraffe and have it dissected in public in front of children, and then feed the giraffe to the zoo’s lions.
A Jaguar was killed after it chewed off its paw, snow leopards left partially eaten in their enclosure, a three-year-old Rhino being crushed to death by another and a squirrel monkey’s decomposed body found behind a radiator, are among the increasingly disturbing accounts of unnecessary animal abuse and questionable deaths occurring at the zoo.
The South Lakes Safari Zoo, which has yet to comment on the euthanized cubs, is now reportedly under new management, with its Chief Executive Karen Brewer stating online its pledge to work to “high standards of animal welfare combined with respect for the animals in our care”.
Source: Daily Mail
Photo Credits: Fanpop, The Guardian, inhabitat.com