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How Many More Deaths At UK Zoos Before Action Is Taken?

Born Free calls for UK Government to urgently review zoo inspection process as yet more animals are shot, this time after escape from enclosure at Port Lympne Safari Park in Kent

Waterbuck at Shamwari reserve in South Africa © Blake McGrow

Today 18th June 2021: Wildlife charity, Born Free, is, yet again, calling for an urgent and immediate review of zoo inspection policy after the second UK shooting of captive animals in less than a month was reported at Port Lympne Safari Park by Kent Online. Two waterbuck were euthanised after escaping their enclosure at Port Lympne Safari Park in Kent raising huge questions on zoo animal safety procedures. This follows the brown bear shooting at Whipsnade a few weeks ago.

The Kent Online news article doesn’t explain how it is they were able to escape their enclosure in the first place or why it was impossible to tranquilize the animals and return them to the enclosure.

Dr Mark Jones, veterinarian and Head of Policy at Born Free stated that “The news that two waterbuck have been shot dead after escaping their enclosure at Port Lympne Safari park in Kent raises yet more questions about the security and safety of animals in Britain’s zoos, and the effectiveness of procedures to retrieve them. At Born Free we question the conservation and educational value of zoos, but the very least that should be expected of them is that they keep their animals, and the public, safe. Tragically, once again this has proved beyond them. “

Co-founder and Executive President of Born Free, Will Travers OBE added “Just a few weeks ago Whipsnade zoo shot and killed two brown bears that climbed over a fence using a fallen tree. Last week we learned of multiple incidents at Blair Drummond Safari Park in Scotland. Where will it end? There are already question marks about the conservation credentials of many zoos. It’s now time we took a serious look at whether the Zoo Licensing Act and the zoo licensing regime are fit for purpose, and whether zoos, as a concept and in practice are past their ‘sell-by’ date.”

A letter to environment minister Zac Goldsmith, copying Peter Hall at DEFRA, has been sent today strongly highlighting the opportunity that the Kept Animals Bill and the Review of the SOSSMZP provides to strengthen current zoo regulation. Born Free is pushing for the inclusion of much stricter safety processes alongside a review of whether zoos should be permitted to keep certain species.

About Born Free

Born Free was founded by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, who starred in the movie classic, Born Free (1966), together with their eldest son, Will. Born Free’s mission is to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs. Born Free opposes the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaigns to keep wildlife in the wild.

Born Free promotes Compassionate Conservation which strives to enhance the survival of threatened species in the wild and protect natural habitats while respecting the needs of and safeguarding the welfare of individual animals. Born Free seeks to have a positive impact on animals in the wild and protect their ecosystems in perpetuity, for their own intrinsic value and for the critical roles they play within the natural world. For more information about Born Free please visit:

© Scoop Media

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