**This action is now closed - thank you**

Wildway Mini Zoo - sometimes known as Cookham Zoo or Wildway Wildlife - have submitted an application to Royal Borough of Maidenhead and Windsor Council (RBMW) to gain permanent residency for their current temporary zoo located at Lower Mount Farm in Cookham. 

It is not clear why their original application only received temporary conditions, but what is clear is that many of the animals held captive at the current facility will continue to be held and exploited in unnatural confinement at this concerning location, until at least January 2026, if these plans are approved.

Help us to take action against these cruel plans today! 

CLICK HERE to be taken through to the planning application page on the RBMW website, where you can see the application documents, and click “Comment on this Application” to politely register your objections to the site being used to perpetuate the cruel and outdated practice of keeping animals in captivity and used as exhibits. 

Deadline for comments is 29th December 2023!

Please bear in mind that the council will be particularly interested in the environmental detriment caused by the proposal, such as the effect on native species and the increase in traffic, so please use our suggested text below, or include your own concerns along those lines.


To Whom it May Concern,

I am writing to object to Planning Application 23/02908/FULL, and the proposed amendment of the current temporary facility known as Wildway Mini Zoo becoming a permanent visitor attraction at Lower Mount Farm in Cookham. 

The site in question is unsuitable for the long-term housing of animals as it is a site of ecological interest and classified green-belt land. The sustained presence of unnatural zoo enclosures in the environment will create unnecessary competition with native species for food, and a higher risk of contaminating local water sources they depend on to survive.

The current set up of animal accommodation is also wholly insufficient, and not only damaging from an animal welfare perspective as their specific welfare needs can never be met in those conditions, but also from an environmental one. 

A lack of suitable infrastructure also means a lack of suitable cleaning and drainage facilities. The runoff caused from not appropriately managing animal waste due to these issues could lead to a higher risk of zoonotic disease spreading both within the zoo and externally to the wider environment; with contamination possibly travelling even further afield when future flooding occurs in the area. 

I’m sure you will be aware that the Cookham area has had issues with sustained flooding and flash floods in the past, as noted in this report: https://cookham.com/cookhamplannew/housinganddevelopment/7flooding.htm 

It is clear that the site in question is not immune to these risks, as it is in close proximity to the high risk areas of Lower Road, Cookham Dean and Winter Hill Road. 

Although the applicant mentions that there will be ticket only access for visitors to enter the site, this alone will constitute an unacceptable increase in traffic to the area. This could have a knock on effect to the health and wellbeing of the local wildlife in the surrounding area, and lead to pollution issues in an environment that should be preserved as a site of ecological interest on green-belt land.

In addition to the concerns about the environmental impacts and the suitability of the site, there are ethical problems with regards to the nature of the business. The exotic species present at the zoo do not thrive in captivity, and have very specific welfare needs that are not easily met. To house them in wooden sheds that can not be effectively insulated, or well managed in terms of providing appropriate temperature, is a serious animal welfare issue, that could lead to respiratory and cardiac disease and even death. These small enclosures (as seen on the applicant’s provided document) represent severely lacking and cramped conditions, and are completely unacceptable housing for animals. 

It is clear from Wildway Mini Zoo’s social media channels and website, that they regularly allow up close and personal visitor interaction with the animals, as well as travelling to external events. Many animal charities, including the well respected public body, the RSPCA,  have raised serious welfare issues surrounding animals to this intense public contact in the name of ‘entertainment’. It is a cruel practice and one which should be winding down, not expanding. 

Not only that, the director of Wildway Mini Zoo was recently seen trying to sell/trade three ring-tailed lemurs, on a group on Facebook. Not only against the platforms' community standards, this unethical act says a lot about how the zoo owners' view the lives of the animals they hold captive. As a council you must take this seriously, and consider how you can extend the permission of this site when it is clear the business cannot care for the animals already there.

I hope you take all these points into consideration when making the important decision as to whether to accept or oppose these plans. Public support is now definitively swaying against businesses such as this, as holding animals captive is an extremely controversial issue that is not only environmentally damaging, but also likely to create negative publicity for the local area if accepted. 

Kind Regards,