25th January 2023

We recently brought you the news that Freedom for Animal’s (FFA) carried out a new investigation into South Lakes Zoo, and were shocked to find a number of previously witnessed animal welfare concerns - the majority mentioned in the Born Free Foundation’s October 2022 report - still present within the zoo, and further shocking evidence of neglect mostly caused by inconceivable noise levels due to completely avoidable actions, such as holding fireworks displays and housing animals next to busy visitor areas. 

Please watch the following video, which shows just a portion of the upsetting reality animals at South Lakes Zoo must endure in the name of entertainment:

Footage captured by the FFA investigator documented: 

  • Serious stereotypies (zoochosis) displayed by numerous animals, including giraffe’s neck twisting, a lonely tapir pacing back and forth in their enclosure, and a leopard scratching and clawing at the glass of their cage, in a desperate attempt to escape their surroundings.
  • Insufficient heating in many enclosures, most notably the primate areas and ‘Africa House’, caused many animals to huddle up under one sole heat lamp, and different species interacting closely as a result. Many of these animals are adapted to live in tropical rainforest or desert environments, and a lack of warmth can lead to serious health implications, and even death (as tragically seen with two red panda babies at Longleat in 2022).
  • Significant overcrowding and an enrichment deprived environment present in the ‘Africa House’, with numerous rhinos confined to tiny individual pens where they could barely turn around, and a lack of outside space meaning many animals had to be separated to take it in turns to get a chance in the open.
  • Severe waterlogging and excessive mud present in the outside enclosure at the ‘Africa House’ forced many of the animals to stay inside and choose the hard concrete floor; to prevent the discomfort of such an uneven and sodden environment. Lack of drainage has been a point of concern for past council inspectors also, and was supposed to be rectified by December 2022. This has clearly not been the case. 
  • A female giraffe continuing to suffer from an overgrown and curved hoof; again a sight previously witnessed during the BFF report, and a health issue that should have been addressed urgently. 
  • Severe noise levels which caused obvious distress to numerous species, including the maned wolf who was forced to endure a leaf-blower being used by staff adjacent to their enclosure.
  • And last but most definitely not least, the inclusion of fireworks somehow being authorised by SLZ staff and officials as an acceptable means of entertainment at a zoo which holds hundreds of sensitive and vulnerable animals captive within it's walls.

For too long, South Lakes Zoo has swept animal abuse under the carpet, and the local council continues to be complicit by failing to improve the lives of the suffering captive animals kept there, and following up on their concerns in inspections. Enough is enough. New management has, and will not, change the reality - it is now time for this zoo to have it's licence revoked and to be permanently closed.