Almost 500 animals have died at a Cumbria zoo in just four years.
South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton-in-Furness is home to big cats, monkeys, as well as a variety of other exotic animals.
Owner David Gill has come under fire by Barrow Council who are debating whether to issue a new zoo licence to the premises.
A report by inspectors speaks of inadequate food and water, overcrowded facilities, a lack of veterinary care amongst other issues.
The zoo’s consultant vet, Jon Cracknell, said the Tambopata Aviary and Tropical House was home to “many perches rotten or failing wood and in need of repair. Many birds [were] soaking wet, particularly the smaller parrots.”
Facilities were found to be poorly designed for example one giraffe died due to slipping on flat concrete, when it should have been gripped rough concrete. Animals were also housed in in-complete housing before it was finished.
Other animals also suffered, a jaguar chewed its own paw off and had to be euthanised, a tortoise was electrocuted, a monkey died down the back of a radiator, just to name a few.
Staff have also faced problems. In 2013 the zoo was fined £297,500 for health and safety breaches when keeper Sarah McClay was mauled to death by a tiger.
Many keepers entered enclosures with animals in order to clean or close gates. One keeper was observed cleaning the primate enclosure whilst one sat directly above them.
Charity, The Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) stated on its website: “We applaud the inspectors for this strong recommendation and call on the zoo to make the decision to close the zoo altogether. We feel that the many instances of suffering and unnecessary deaths of animals go to show that this zoo has failed and will continue to fail the animals in their care.”