UK: Isle of Wight Zoo on "This Morning"

The Isle of Wight Zoo (formerly known as Sandown Zoo) was featured on ITV’s This Morning on 21st September 2006, as part of the programme’s “Out of the Wild” feature.

Some months ago, the Born Free Foundation was contacted by This Morning’s production team for information about the Zoo. A member of Born Free’s ZooCheck team visited the Zoo in August 2006, and made the following observations:

“Signs indicated that a proportion of entrance fees is donated to tiger conservation in India. Despite asking several members of staff, and searching the zoo’s literature and signage, I was unable to determine the exact proportion nor the total donated to date

Most of the tigers were housed in visual, auditory and olfactory contact with other tigers (or lions). Research has shown that the presence of tigers in neighbouring cages causes stress and frustration in captive tigers.

Several of the tiger enclosures had no pools, despite these being recognised a basic requirement for tigers in captivity

One of the capuchins was observed to display stereotypic behaviour, and several of the tigers were observed to be repetitively pacing throughout the duration of my visit. Such behaviour is generally considered to be an indicator of poor welfare.

Several of the enclosures for reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates were extremely small, and did not appear to provide an adequate area for normal behaviour to be expressed

The construction of several of the enclosures appeared insufficient to securely hold the animals. In particular, several of the big cat and primate enclosures were simply constructed of panels of wire mesh, nailed to wooden supports by U-shaped nails. It is possible that an animal climbing, leaning or pulling on the caging might dislodge the wire panel sufficiently to allow escape. There were also small gaps between mesh panels in some enclosures.

The “Nature’s Nightmares” area was extremely busy during my visit, with high levels of noise and crowding by visitors. It is possible that this may have an adverse effect on the animals.

2 coatis housed together had entirely lost the hair on their tails.

There was evidence of human food waste and rubbish in the vervet monkey and porcupine enclosures, including sauce and sugar packets. These enclosures were situated adjacent to the café seating area.

The sign on the rat enclosure indicated that the animals were black rats (Rattus rattus), but the animals inside were actually domesticated brown rats (Rattus norvegicus).”

These observations were made available to This Morning yet, despite our concerns, the programme has now aired.

If you watched this “Out of the Wild” feature, or have any comment on Isle of Wight Zoo’s inclusion within it, please contact ITV with your comments:

Duty Office
Gas Street
Birmingham
B1 2JT
Tel: 0870 600 6766
Fax: 0121 634 4898
Minicom: 0870 241 6346
Email: dutyoffice@itv.com
Monday to Friday: 8.00am to 11.00pm
Saturdays and Sundays: 10.00am to 10.00pm
Closed on Bank Holidays.

http://www.bornfree.org.uk/zoocheck/zcnews060921.shtml

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