The long-awaited response to repeated queries over the investigation by BIAZA into the West Midland Safari Park (WMSP) lion cub scandal was finally received at the end of December by the investigating organisations, CAPS and Lion Aid. The charitable organisations have expressed their extreme disappointment at the failure to hold the park to account. The zoo will retain its BIAZA membership and apparently suffer no consequences as a result of its actions.
This move, said representatives from CAPS and Lion Aid, raises very serious questions over the integrity of BIAZA as an organisation as well as its ability to regulate its members.
Other than the letter sent to the organisations, there has been no public statement issued with regard to the decision by either BIAZA or the zoo.
Lion Aid would have expected WMSP to issue an apology for their actions and for BIAZA to have admitted a lack of oversight in this case – as neither happened, we feel that this issue would rather be swept under the rug than dealt with in a professional manner. WMSP and BIAZA have not appropriately attended to the public trust placed in them when mistakes were made. They must be acknowledged and rectified.
Lion Aid would like to remind BIAZA and WMSP of the EC Directive on zoos (Council Directive 1999/22/EC) which states that zoos have a responsibility to in situ conservation of animals in their care. We are not convinced that UK zoos take this responsibility seriously in contrast to zoos in the USA which spend a considerable amount of money ensuring that species in the wild have a future.
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