Special inspection scheduled for South Lakes Safari Zoo

Council officers are to carry out a specially scheduled inspection of South Lakes Safari Zoo after a number of animal welfare concerns were raised.

A team from the town hall will be joined by a specialist vet who is also a DEFRA zoo inspector for the inspection, set to be carried out on November 17.

A number of allegations made by animal charity Born Free, and also separately by a private individual, will be fully investigated as part of the inspection during which the zoo’s in-house vet will be interviewed and animal records examined.

A council spokesperson said: “We have acted quickly following concerns being raised about animal welfare at the South Lakes Safari Zoo.

“Availability issues with the qualified DEFRA zoo inspector mean our inspection will be carried out later than we would have hoped.”

South Lakes Safari Zoo’s licence was agreed for a further six years in 2021 with some additional conditions and directions placed on it. 

These were from a formal inspection, which a DEFRA approved inspector and vet appointed by the Council were part of.

Council officers visited the zoo and undertook an annual informal inspection in February which looked at whether conditions had been met and directions complied with.

Animal welfare was not flagged as an issue, although one of the directions did relate to drainage of the Africa Paddock which needs to be resolved by December this year.