Cumbria

South Lakes zoo inspection finds licence failures

South Lakes Safari Zoo Image copyright PA
Image caption The zoo was granted a licence in 2017 after a new company took over control from its founder

A zoo where a keeper was killed and hundreds of animals died has failed to follow some of the conditions of its licence.

Some areas of the South Lakes Safari Zoo had fallen below legally required standards, Barrow Council inspectors found.

Among them were "faded" lines intended to show visitors in the big cat house where they could safely stand.

The zoo has been approached for comment.

The Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd was granted a licence in May 2017 after it took over control of the zoo from its founder, David Gill.

Keeper Sarah McClay, originally from Glasgow, was mauled to death by a tiger in 2013 and a council report in 2017 revealed 486 animals had died in four years.

Essential work completed

The zoo's new licence was granted subject to inspections, two of which took place in January and May.

Council officials found some areas had fallen below the standards required by the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 and the government's Standards of Modern Zoo Practice.

The zoo told the council the faded lines had been repainted and the job added to a six-month check-list to ensure it was done regularly.

Visitors can only enter the big cat house with a senior trained keeper and there is a safety briefing beforehand, it said.

Council veterinary advisor Dr Matthew Brash highlighted "concern" over record keeping and pest control but said the failings were "minor and easily resolved".

The zoo was making "good progress" and veterinary care was "high", he said.

The zoo has promised the council all "critical and immediately essential" works have been completed, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

At a meeting next week councillors will decide whether to add conditions to the licence or give more time for improvements.

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