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South Lakes Safari Zoo Reveals Deficiencies in Veterinary Records


An inspection conducted in May at South Lakes Safari Zoo near Dalton found that while the zoo seemed to be in good condition, there were deficiencies in its veterinary records. The inspection was informal and involved a brief walk around the zoo, during which all animals appeared to be in good health.

Cumbria Zoo Company Limited, the current operator of the zoo, stated that they were making every effort to ensure that the animals received proper veterinary care when needed and that the documentation of such care was appropriate.

Previous inspections of the zoo had raised concerns about animal welfare, although some improvements had been observed. The zoo had faced fines in the past, notably after a keeper was killed by a tiger in 2013, and it has been under new management since 2017.

The inspection report, authored by Dr. Matthew Brash, a veterinary advisor for Westmorland and Furness Council, and council officer Ivor Churcher, stated that, overall, the zoo appeared to be in good condition. It noted a deliberate reduction in the number of animals and a significant decrease in evidence of rodent activity compared to the previous inspection in November of the previous year.

However, the inspectors pointed out that many of the animals were on loan and were being cared for by the International Zoo Veterinary Group (IZVG). Animals owned or managed by the zoo's landlords, Zoo Investment Company, were being cared for by Dr. Kate Hornby on-site, but the records were described as incomplete and basic.

The report emphasized the importance of Dr. Hornby understanding and complying with the requirements set out in the Zoo Licensing Act and the Secretary of State's standards of modern zoo practice regarding the maintenance of adequate records on-site for inspection.

Cumbria Zoo Company Limited stated that IZVG and zoo inspector Dr. Karen Archer were closely monitoring the entire animal collection and the administration and documentation of veterinary care, promptly addressing any potential shortcomings or gaps.

The council's regulatory committee is scheduled to discuss the report and consider whether any changes to the zoo's license are necessary on Thursday.