Zoo where almost 500 animals died loses its licence

The founder has 28 days to lodge an appeal

Zoo where almost 500 animals died loses its licence

Image: Facebook/SafariZooUK

A zoo in England - where almost 500 animals have died in four years - has had its application for a new licence rejected by local councillors.

The deaths at South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, from 2013 to 2016 were revealed in a report prepared by officers at Barrow Borough Council.

Zoo founder David Gill applied to renew his licence, but he was denied by the council's licencing regulatory committee at a meeting on Monday.

It heard inspectors had visited the tourist attraction in January and were "dismayed by the obvious deficiencies in the accommodation, the overcrowding and the lack of proper welfare and husbandry".

Details of the deaths of 486 animals between January 2013 to September 2016 showed "a clear picture of poor management with uncontrolled breeding and lack of any programme of preventative and curative veterinary medicine, with resultant ongoing welfare issues for the animals".

A report said seven healthy lion cubs and five young baboons were "euthanised" because there was not enough space to keep them in.

Mr Gill shot 18 Sacred Ibis birds after he was threatened with prosecution for letting them fly free.

A giraffe was shot by its keeper after collapsing, two snow leopards were found partially eaten and a pair of squirrel monkeys were diagnosed with septicaemia.

Tony Callister, chairman of the committee, said the decision had been unanimous.

He said the application was refused because councillors were not satisfied conservation matters referred to in the UK’s Zoo Licensing Act would be implemented.

They also took into account that Mr Gill had been convicted under a Wildlife and Countryside Act regarding the escape into the wild of a number of sacred ibis.

Mr Gill, who did not attend the hearing at Barrow Town Hall, now has 28 days to lodge an appeal.