Lion Man Out, MAF [Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry] Investigates Declawing
Thursday, 13 November 2008
Lion Man Craig Busch’s licence to operate Zion Wildlife Gardens has been revoked after his loving mum Patricia (manager of the lion park) told MAF that he was no longer employed by the park. He has been replaced as licensed operator by former Auckland Zoo manager Glen Holland.
Philip Smith from Great Southern Television insists that the cats will be back on our television screens in some shape or form. He told TV3
“The story is always about the preservation and conservation, that’s the story and no man or person is bigger than that story.”
I must have been watching a different show. What I saw was focused around Craig – the way he interacted with the lions, trained the lions, cuddled and played with the lions.
Court Battle Between Craig And His Mum
Next week, Craig and Patricia Busch go head to head in court in a civil claim that Craig has set up a competing website selling Lion Man merchandising and asking for donations to help his conservation efforts. Lion Man producers Great Southern Television are partnered with Patricia to produce The Lion Man television program and profit from the merchandising. They allege Craig is making false claims that his site is the “official site” of the Lion Man.
Does anyone else find the timing suspicious? Mum is going into court next week claiming that their website is the official one, and what better proof than ousting the man known as “The Lion Man” from his role at the park?
MAF Investigation To Date
TVNZ say that a report from MAF described the arguments between Craig and Patricia as childish and MAF were concerned about the welfare of the big cats after claims that Craig had changes the locks on enclosures and a sick tiger couldn’t be attended to for five days.
They also listed several other concerns including insanitary conditions
Neighbours report that the police have been called out on several occasions, including a false alarm last weekend that someone was attempting to remove gates from the wildlife park.
Patricia has also made claims that she was abused by Craig and rumour has it she attempted to take out a restraining order against him.
MAF Investigating De-clawing
Most of the concerns raised by MAF have been remedied, however they are still investigating one matter. According to TVNZ, MAF is investigating de-clawing, which was described in the report as an unnecessary practice. MAF are investigating both the lion park and the vet that de-clawed the big cats. Ex employees of Zion Wildlife Gardens have confirmed to NZRealityTV.com that many of the cats have been de-clawed.
Park Still Open to Visitors
But there is good news for people hoping to visit the park. New operator Glen Holland told TV3 that he believes the park is in good shape and that he is satisfied with the condition of the animals, the enclosures and the training the staff have received.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org