25th March 2019

The founder of South Lakes Safari Zoo, where nearly 500 animals died in less than three years, has opened a horse riding ranch in the Lake District. He has applied for a licence to open the ranch to the public.  

South Lakes Safari Zoo had its license revoked in 2017 whilst under David Gill’s management, during which time hundreds of animals were found to have died or have serious illnesses.

Inspection reports released to Freedom for Animals from the local council documented how animals had died from exposure, emaciation, hypothermia and had even been run over. Visits to the zoo showed animals that were emaciated, had skin conditions and some with no access to water on one of the hottest days of the year.

Gill was never prosecuted despite zoo inspectors recommending such, and the zoo was carried on under new management.

Gill’s newest venture has a website advertises riding lessons, three-hour trail rides and horse-drawn carriage hire. He also appears to have a herd of alpacas on site.

Our Campaigns Director Nicola O’Brien said;

“It is outrageous that any local authority would give David Gill the opportunity to run another business with animals.

“When he managed South Lakes Safari zoo, hundreds of animals died in just a few years. These animals died in a range of horrifying ways, from electrocution to starvation, all under his watch. How can he be entrusted to care for animals after such a track record? We are deeply concerned for any animals that end up in his care and urge the council to reject this application.”