For many years, Borth Wild Animal Kingdom has had the attention of Freedom for Animals. Originally named Borth Animalarium, it  was set up in 1980 and has been visited over the years by our investigators. Every time we visited we were appalled at the state of the zoo, and publicised the photos and footage to dissuade people from walking through their doors. 

Back in 2010, Freedom for Animals investigated the zoo in relation to animals including a leopard, lynx and lemurs that the zoo were not supposed to be displaying. The zoo had been fined in court and nine animals had been ordered to be confiscated. But months later, when we visited the animals were still there. 

Not only did our investigator film the animals that should have been removed, but found much more: 

  • Animals being bred despite lack of space and resources; the keeper reported that at one point they had 24 marmosets in one cage.
  • Animal sales advertised (including marmosets sold into the pet trade confirmed by email).
  • Enclosures covered in rotting food and faeces.
  • A lack of enrichment for most animals.
  • Stereotypical behaviours - a sign of stress - seen in chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, lemurs and lynx.
  • Nillie the lynx, who was later killed, was constantly pacing.
  • Staff told our investigator of capuchin monkeys that were breeding but the babies were always born dead or killed at birth by the parents. 

A capuchin monkey, whose young died, at Borth Animalarium

A marmoset, who lived in an overcrowded cage at Borth Animalarium

At that time, many years ago, it was clear to us that the zoo should close and that the council should act. 

The zoo was for sale for a long time. Concerned members of the public wished that the new managers of the zoo would be more capable at looking after animals. But since the Zoo Licensing Act does not require for zoo owners to hold any qualifications, any person can sadly set up a zoo, with little or no skills in animal welfare. 

In 2017, an artist and a psychotherapist from Kent bought the zoo and suddenly were in charge of the welfare of 300 animals. Sadly their lack of experience did not give us more confidence about the quality of care and safety that the animals would receive.  

Over the years, many animals have escaped including a capybara, beaver and a leopard from the zoo demonstrating that the zoo is not fit for purpose. Then, in 2017, the zoo made the national news when Lillith the lynx escaped. Following a week of attempts to capture her, she was shot by a contractor under order of Ceredigion Council. Whilst the owners expressed outrage to the media about the incident, it later emerged that the zoo had strangled another lynx (Nillie, who should have been confiscated 7 years previously) at the zoo with a catchpole, just days earlier.  Both incidents spoke volumes about the new owners’ incompetence to run a zoo and care for hundreds of animals. 

The sign of Nillie the lynx with previous owner. Nillie was later strangled to death in a tragic incident at Borth Wild Animal Kingdom. 

Enough was enough - the zoo had to close! 

With you, we have campaigned for the closure of the zoo, for the sake of the animals held captive there with substandard care. 

In 2017, the council ordered that the zoo no longer held dangerous wild animals. But the zoo appealed the order, and won! 

Years later in 2020, the zoo was found again to not be meeting its licence conditions. Once again the council ordered that the zoo must not hold dangerous wild animals but the zoo negotiated resulting in just the ‘Category 1’ animals having to be rehomed including the lynx and lion. Yet more escapes happen at the zoo - this time three antelopes. 

A lion, who was later rehomed from Borth Wild Animal Kingdom.

In a strongly worded statement the council announced that news of the escape was 'extremely disappointing' and declared that it had 'lost confidence in the ability of the zoo to operate responsibly and safely.'

At this point it seemed that surely the council could not continue to license the zoo and should issue a zoo closure direction order. In an added twist, in 2021, it was revealed that the zoo was in a huge amount of debt owing £100k to HMRC and £22k to the council. The zoo could not pay the money so their management company was wound up and the zoo licence was surrendered. 

Using the company  ‘Animalarium’ which the couple had set up in 2017, they applied to the council for a dangerous wild animal licence which would enable them to hold captive certain animals privately. However, following an inspection, the council refused the application and the zoo had to rehome the antelope and the primates from the premises. 

Thanks to you we are a step closer to ending the exploitation of animals at the zoo. Sadly, the zoo is currently operating as a petting zoo, exhibiting farmed and domestic animals to the public. On a few days of the year, they exhibit their exotic animals which means that they do not require a zoo licence. This is simply not acceptable! With such a long history in failing to adequately care for the animals at Borth, it is time that the zoo is closed - for good! 

We will continue to campaign until Borth Zoo is closed down permanently. 

Please donate to help us continue our important work and ensure Borth Zoo is not allowed to continue with its poor treatment of animals.