Worst zoo threatens to kill all its 300 animals as it is running out of money to feed them amid pandemic
The zoo was ordered to close this past January after it was found that it did not have trained gunmen, only to be allowed to open again a month later
A zoo that is reportedly considered to be one of the worst in Britain has said it might have to put down the animals under its care because it is running out of funds to feed them due to a loss of revenue brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Tracy and Dean Tweedy had bought the Borth Wild Animal Kingdom in West Wales for $760,000 in 2016 to start a "dream new life" with their family, according to the Daily Mail, but have since repeatedly into problems.
The couple recently revealed that they are quickly running out of money to feed the 300+ animals under their care and that they are, as a "last resort", planning to euthanize the animals they "care for".
Tracy, 49, said many of the zoo's staff is already on furlough and that their $31,000 business relief grant will all but run out in the coming weeks. "We were already only scraping by financially after the long, quiet winter season," she said. "We need help now more than ever. Despite everything, we are as determined as ever to not give up."
She said it cost over $3,500 a week to run the zoo and that they are looking to re-home but are also considering the option of culling their animals if they could not be fed because of the difficulties posed by the former. Tracy shared that many of their animals would be very hard to relocate because of the license requirements needed to look after exotic breeds. "We also run as a sanctuary for animals that have been rescued from the exotic pet trade. For many of these animals, we are a last resort," she said.
"They came here because destruction was their only alternative," she continued. "They would be very difficult to re-home as the license requirements to look after these animals and provide the proper care, can be very involved and expensive."
She added that it would be "tragic" if mid-Wales lost its only zoo and that they "work with so many local organizations on animal education and wildlife conservation that we see ourselves as a vital asset for the community."
They criticized the Welsh government for not providing aid to zoos, an allegation the government denied, before stating it had already provided all licensed zoos with details of existing support schemes.
"If any zoo operators have concerns about their ability to meet the needs of their animals, they should contact their local authority's animal health team for advice without delay as they are on hand to offer support," a spokeswoman said.
They also argued that the $608 million economic resilience fund provided more generous funds than one specifically for zoos would have.
This is not the first time that the Borth Wild Animal Kingdom has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. A spokesman for the Ceredigion County Council had earlier said that the local authority had "lost confidence in the ability of the zoo to operate responsibly and safely."
That statement had followed a series of incidents, the first of which unfolded in late 2017 when Lilleth the Eurasian lynx escaped her enclosure and had to be shot dead by a marksman after she was found at a nearby caravan site. Soon after, a second lynx, Nilly, also died in what was described as a "handling error". A subsequent report revealed that five of the zoo's animals had died in just one year, including monkeys, crocodiles, and a leopard.
The zoo was ordered to close this past January after it was found that it did not have trained gunmen in case of an animal escape, only to be allowed to open again a month later.