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Bristol Animal Rights Collective even more determined to close Noah’s Ark after tour of the zoo

Bristol Animal Rights Collective | 27.07.2010 20:22

On Monday 26th July, three members of BARC attended Noah's Ark Zoo Farm (NAZF) for a tour of the zoo with three members of the zoo staff, including the zoo's owner, Anthony Bush. Having initially been told that up to five of us could be shown around, this number was reduced to three two days prior to visit. When we arrived at the zoo we were asked to sign a declaration that we would not use any visual or audio equipment to record our visit (and we were told attempts to protest inside the zoo would not be allowed!)
We were shown around less than half of the zoo's site. It appeared this was a deliberate attempt to show us what the zoo considered to be the better areas, i.e. the most spacious enclosures, however the staff made out we had run out of time and therefore were not to be shown any more. They said we were welcome to pay entry and see the rest, although they knew full well we would not be prepared to financially support them to do this.

Despite seeing the ‘better’ part, we still found the enclosures too small. All three visitors were distressed and saddened to see animals in small areas with little or no stimulation. Not long after our arrival at the zoo a member of the public approached the staff with us to alert them to an injured, bleeding vulture which appeared to have sustained its injuries by flying repeatedly into the walls and roof of its aviary. When we later viewed the vultures they were doing exactly as the zoo visitor had described. They appeared to be frightened of humans and Mr Bush told us, "They don't like being stared at". Not ideal for a zoo exhibit then! Although I don't suppose the other animals like it any more than they do.

We were also concerned to learn that a number of chicks hatched by storks and rheas have been taken by foxes and crows over the last two years. As a result of this zoo staff are now removing rheas from the breeding pair as they hatch, one can only imagine the stress which this must cause them. The stalks had their eggs removed and incubated this year, neither hatched, they were unable to tell us why.

Despite stating to the council in the planning application for the elephant enclosure that 'there will be no breeding from the elephants' and promoting the enclosure as a 'sanctuary' for elephants, Anthony Bush told us they now intend to take in 4 adult elephants and breed them until they have a family group of 10!

It was desperately sad to see the tigers we had read so much about, imprisoned in this way, stripped of their dignity and their right to freedom. The effect of this travesty was clear to anyone who stood and watched as one of them paced in circles while the zoo staff fumbled around trying to cover it up and make excuses for his behaviour. The female tiger appeared to have been swapped - with Martin Lacey or the Great British Circus?? We have emailed the zoo to ask where the new female came from and what happened to the previous one although have not as yet received a reply.

Anthony Bush seemed to have misguidedly been under the impression that by showing us round he may somehow convince us that the conditions inside the zoo are no cause for concern and his animals are happy, healthy and content. In reality it has only served to make us more determined in our campaigning for captive animals in general, and specifically those incarcerated inside Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

Bristol Animal Rights Collective
- Original article on IMC Bristol: