Safari Zoo Cumbria inspection carried out after concerns

A baby rhinoceros and an adult walk side by side in a barn

Born Free said the rhinos didn’t get enough time outside

A zoo where an animal rights group has raised welfare concerns will be reviewed again by the local authority.

Born Free campaigns to keep animals in the wild and said it has experienced problems at Safari Zoo Cumbria in 2022.

Concerns about the animals’ food and water were also raised by the owner, Zoo Investment Company (ZIC), but inspectors acknowledged it met basic standards.

The zoo said it was aware of the problems and Barrow Borough Council’s inspection report will be discussed on Thursday.

Born Free previously said its representatives visited Dalton-on-Furness Zoo on Oct. 17 after receiving “multiple public reports of concern”.

He said the zoo, which was taken over in 2017, “still doesn’t meet” even “basic animal welfare standards.”

A giraffe nibbles leaves

Born Free said it had encountered animal welfare issues, but the zoo has denied all allegations

An inspection of the council was then carried out in November by Ivor Churcher, Commercial Team Leader at Barrow Council and Dr Matthew Brash, the council’s Professional Veterinary Consultant.

That report has since concluded, the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) reports, and is set for consideration by a meeting of the council’s licensing regulatory committee.

The report said that following the zoo’s Nov. 17 assessment, rodents were found in “multiple areas” of the site and that rhinos spent a “significant percentage” of their time in confined enclosures.

However, he said the animal enclosures were maintained in a way that “appears to meet the secretary of state’s standards on modern zoo practice.”

It also said that animals in need of medical attention received “adequate levels of care in a timely manner”.

Despite ZIC’s concerns about the “presence of significant quantities of faeces” in the rhino stalls and “the lack of visible food or water,” the report said there was no evidence that the animals were not routinely cleaned.

He also said there was no evidence to suggest the animals weren’t provided enough food and water.

But he found a door to the keepers’ kitchen left open all day, providing “easy access for pests such as birds, rodents and flies”.

However, the report found that there was no evidence of rodent feces inside the keepers’ kitchen.

There was, however, an unoccupied bird’s nest above the food preparation area.

Dr. Brash concluded that there was a need to establish “a safe and effective program” for the control of pests and parasites.

In response, the zoo said the rodent situation was “an ongoing and living problem.”

“We believe we have a proactive approach to pest issues, the inspector hasn’t highlighted anything that we don’t know about,” a spokesman told the LDRS.

“We can see problem areas resolved and rodent numbers decreasing, and we can see a real increase in animal keeper vigilance and engagement, as well as other departments.”

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