Zoo probed over tiger claims
20 October 2009
A zoo is under investigation after it cut off the head, skin and feet of a tiger before illegally burying it in the grounds.
The environmental protection team at North Somerset Council is probing chiefs at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall.
The move comes after allegations made by the Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS), which carried out its own investigation at the farm over the summer when the tigers were brought in.
CAPS says the zoo was breeding tigers and camels on behalf of Martin Lacey, owner of Great British Circus, one of six circuses still using animals in the UK.
But although the zoo accepts it illegally buried the tiger, it denied breeding animals for the circus.
A spokesman said: “We do not own or hold circus tigers – they are not the property of the Great British Circus.
“The tigers we have belong to Linctrek Ltd, a company providing trained animals for use in film, other collections and television. A director of Linctrek is Martin Lacey, who also owns the circus.
“We have never, when questioned, withheld information regarding this. It has always been well-known that our tigers and camels come from a private collector in the north of England.”
In regards to Tira the tiger, who died a few days after giving birth, the zoo said it buried her under regulations covering farmland. After being subsequently informed of other regulations, the situation was remedied.
The spokesman added: “The skin, head and feet of the tiger will be used for education here at the zoo and is common practice.
“The welfare of animals is exceptional with Noah’s Ark passing Government and institutionally-accredited inspections.
“Our team of dedicated and well-trained staff provide excellent animal care and we continue to manage our animals in the best way possible.”
But CAPS is standing by both its claims and says it is now calling for the council to revoke the zoo’s licence.
A spokesman for the unitary authority said an investigation is being carried out.
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