20th February 2024

Yet more heartbreaking news comes from the notorious South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria, as we hear of the recent death of a young female giraffe last month. This death, just another in a long list for this dangerously incompetent zoo, has sparked further concerns for the safety of the animals held captive under their care. 

In a further worrying development, The Cumbria Zoo Company, who runs the zoo, has refused to provide details of the post-mortem when requested by their landlords The Zoo Investment Company. This leads us to the question - why is this death shrouded in secrecy? 

The zoo has been the subject of a litany of complaints and scandals, and has been investigated by animal rights and welfare organisations including Freedom for Animals. Even the zoo's own landlords are clear in their disapproval and distrust of the management and standards at South Lakes Zoo. The CEO of The Zoo Investment Company, Janette Kemp, states: "I can also confirm we that we have previously highlighted our concerns over animal diets and poor feeding practices." Westmorland and Furness Council has also undertaken thier own inspections, but, shockingly, the zoo remains open to date. 

South Lakes Safari Zoo offers 'Giraffe Experiences' in which visiting members of the public can pay to feed the resident giraffes pieces of carrot. These sessions can run for extended periods of time on busy days, maximising the financial benefit to the business. If these 'feeding experiences' can go on for hours at a time, even fresh vegetables like carrots will create serious health issues when being given in such large quantities. We have also had reports of bags of white bread and donuts being spotted in the feeding area of the Africa House. 

Whilst the cause of the giraffe's death is still unclear, due to the refusal of the zoo to release any explanation, we are confident that a poor diet does absolutely nothing to prolong an animal's life. Feeding resident animals such inappropriate and unnatural food items raises very real concerns over the zoo's ability to offer even a basic level of suitable care for the animals it holds captive. 

The death of this innocent giraffe at South Lakes Safari Zoo in January has added new fuel to the fire for the campaign against this failing zoo. Demonstrations held last weekend in Ulverston by the group Close Down South Lakes Zoo, aimed to spread awareness of the past and present issues at the zoo, and gather more signatures for the petition that is calling for justice. 

Here's how you can help:

Sign the petition today to call for the long-overdue closure of South Lakes Zoo, and stop the endless suffering 

Donate to Freedom for Animals and help us to speak out about the failings at this zoo 

Take part in our online action and demand that DEFRA offers transparency about deaths at zoos