Borth Wildlife Animal Kingdom reopening delayed

Image source, Borth Wild Animal Kingdom
Image caption, Lilleth was shot dead after escaping from the zoo

A zoo where a lynx escaped and was shot dead, and another died being moved, has had hopes of reopening on Saturday quashed.

Borth Wildlife Animal Kingdom has been shut since Eurasian lynx Lilleth escaped a month ago.

She was killed by a marksman after Ceredigion council decided she posed a risk to the community.

The zoo failed to secure a firearms licence from Dyfed-Powys Police in time to reopen on Saturday.

Owner Dean Tweedy said an inspection by the local authority raised 120 separate issues - some which had been addressed immediately.

"I think it is one of the biggest reports that any zoo has had in the UK," he said on Friday.

"We knew there were a lot of problems here when we took over. It's quite good to have that list, so we can start going through it, and addressing the problems."

The owners moved into the 10-acre (4 hectare) zoo after buying it for £625,000.

After the death of the escaped lynx, it emerged a second lynx called Nilly also died after she got caught in a catch-pole during a move to another enclosure ahead of the council inspection.

Image caption, Dean Tweedy said zoo staff were ready to welcome the public back

Mr Tweedy said the zoo had now addressed all "urgent" issues raised during that inspection, and was ready to reopen.

"By being closed, we have really been able to crack on with the work that needs doing," he said.

The zoo owners said extra staff had been brought in to help address drainage problems on the site, as well as issues with electrical supplies.

Mr Tweedy said they had also been helped by an army of volunteers to remove overgrown vegetation from animal enclosures, including the lynx pens.

However, the council has withdrawn permission for the zoo to host "category one" animals, which include remaining lynx, two lions and a leopard.

The zoo is in the process of appealing against that decision.

"When you have got dangerous animals, you don't want to try to move them quickly. It has to be something that is considered and planned out, and also we need to find new homes for them, if that's the case," added Mr Tweedy.

"But we are appealing against the decision for a lot of the category one animals - things like the lions - there's never been an issue with the lions in the two years they have been here."

The zoo, however, is still waiting for final approval to open, with the firearms licence one of the sticking points.

It has faced calls to be closed by some campaigners, but the Tweedys have said it remains their home.

"I think there will always be a future here for the zoo," said Mr Tweedy.

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