South Lakes zoo bosses win six-year licence renewal

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image captionKaren Brewer, of Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd, welcomed the decision

Bosses who took on a zoo after a keeper was mauled by a tiger and hundreds of animals died have been granted a six-year licence renewal.

Barrow Council heard inspectors had been "impressed" with improvements made at South Lakes Safari Zoo, in Dalton-in-Furness.

The decision was backed unanimously following a five-hour meeting.

Karen Brewer, chief executive officer of Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd, said it was "absolutely fantastic" news.

"We are over the moon, every one of us. We can just get on with things for the next six years. It's wonderful," she said.

Councillors were presented with a report recommending the renewal following an inspection last month, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

However, while praising the progress the business had made, they noted there was "still much to do".

Keeper Sarah McClay, originally from Glasgow, was mauled to death by a tiger in 2013 - leading to a £297,500 fine for the business over health and safety breaches.

In 2017 a council report revealed 486 animals had died between December 2013 and September 2016 including two snow leopards that were found partially eaten, a pair of squirrel monkeys diagnosed with septicaemia and a giraffe which a post-mortem examination showed was overweight.

The Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd was initially granted a licence later that year in May after it took control from the zoo's founder, David Gill.

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