Authorities in Cumbria, UK, have said that in November 2022 they will inspect Safari Zoo Cumbria in Dalton-in-Furness after a report from the Born Free Foundation about the zoo has expressed animal welfare concerns.
Born Free investigators visited the zoo on 17th October after receiving “multiple public reports of concern”, and reported that they saw particular issues in the zoo’s African area, including one female giraffe being thought to have “extremely” overgrown and curved hooves, a lack of “browse provision” such as branches and leaves for the giraffes with too much emphasis on visitors feeding the animals, rhinos and zebras not getting enough time outdoors, an Andean bear showing signs of “zoochosis” with “no attempts at food-related enrichment” being observed, a “sub-standard” heating provision for sloths and tortoises, and a lack of staff supervision in walk-through areas where visitors can get close to animals. Born Free said: “It is our strong view that the zoo continues to fail to meet even basic standards of animal welfare and visitor safety in a number of respects.”
Barrow Council said the claims made by Born Free would be “fully investigated” with an inspection including staff from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to be held in November. A council spokesman said, “We have acted quickly following concerns being raised about animal welfare at the zoo. Availability issues with the qualified Defra zoo inspector mean our inspection will be carried out later than we would have hoped.” The zoo’s licence was renewed in 2021 with some additional conditions placed upon it, and the zoo was recently inspected in February when no animal welfare issues were raised. However, official inspections, for being announced and done too quickly, are often insufficient to detect problems, as research on the zoo licensing inspection system in the UK has shown.