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500 Animals Die in Cumbria in a Span of 4 Years, UK Zoo May Face Repercussions

Mar 03, 2017 09:28 AM EST
Hand Reared Siberian Tigers Trained To Live in Wild
A zoo in Cumbria may lose its license after inspectors discovered 500 animal deaths since 2013. The owner filed for a license renewal that the board of inspectors rejected citing the poor conditions of the animals.
(Photo : China Photos/Getty Images)

Zoo-keeping remains controversial and is strongly being opposed by conservationists and environmentalists. Today, a zoo in Cumbria, U.K. is in hot water after 500 animals died under their watch in the last four years.

The South Lakes Safari Zoo might lose its license after discovering a 12 percent death rate of its animals in four years. Inspectors recommended the refusal of license renewal after almost 500 animal deaths.

Owner Renewing License Despite Animal, Staff Deaths

The zoo in Cumbria had alarming number of deaths from 2013 to 2016, according to a report by the Barrow Borough Council's licensing committee. The recorded causes of animal deaths include hypothermia.

Owner Rob Gill, who was subject to public outrage due to the mismanagement of the zoo, filed for a license renewal that the council rejected. The denial of the license cited poor management, uncontrolled breeding and lack of proper veterinary practices as grounds for denial of the owner's application.

This is not the first time the zoo garnered public attention. In 2015, a zookeeper died after being mauled by a Sumatran tiger, according to a report. The zoo then faced a series of monetary penalty for the death of the zookeeper and other offenses including health and safety breaches.

Read Also: War Captives: Last Surviving Animals in Mosul Zoo-Turned-ISIS Base Finally Receive Treatment  

Inhumane Zoo Conditions

Today, the South Lakes Safari Zoo is home to 1,500 animals. Recent inspection discovered the poor condition of animals in the facility. Previous inspections already ordered the zoo to improve its management but the management failed to do so. Gill is allegedly stepping down in the management department but will still be the zoo's owner.

"The current arrangement sees the entire zoo site leased to Cumbria Zoo Company Limited under a six-month lease," Gill's spokesperson said in an interview with BBC. "Mr. Gill remains the license holder, but otherwise has stepped away from all trading and management activities connected with the zoo."

The new management is now overseeing the operations of the zoo. However, the council is adamant in its decision to refuse the zoo of a new license that might lead to the closure of the establishment.

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