Abusive Zoo That Killed Almost 500 Animals Must Be Shut Down

Target: David Gill, Owner of South Lakes Safari Zoo

Goal: Step down as owner of the zoo, and allow for its closure and the safe transport and rehabilitation of its animals.

Animals held in captivity at the South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria, England have suffered for years under allegedly dismal living conditions. Zoo inspectors last summer reported discovering malnourished animals living in dirty, overcrowded enclosures. They cited a shocking lack of basic veterinary care, and reported instances where healthy animals were euthanized when there was simply nowhere left to put them. Their findings revealed a giraffe that died due to poor nutrition, two partially eaten snow leopards, a jaguar that had gnawed off its own paw, a turtle that had been electrocuted, and many more horrors.

As a result, the zoo was fined heavily and has now been denied a license renewal. This should result in the zoo’s closure, but the owner still has a chance to appeal the decision, and the zoo’s parent company — Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd. — has not announced that a closure is pending.

In total, it is estimated that almost 500 animals have died at the zoo over the past four years. Of these, almost half were from endangered or threatened species. The place has also proven to be dangerous to those who work there as well, as shown by the fatal mauling that took place in 2013 of a tiger handler at the facility. The zoo’s owner, David Gill, has tried to enjoy a public image as an animal advocate, but the way he has operated the South Lakes Safari Zoo appears to show a callous disregard for their basic well-being.

The zoo cannot continue to operate with the same management in charge. Please sign this petition to urge Gill not to seek an appeal of the council’s decision, and to allow the zoo to shut down and to have all animals be safely rehabilitated.


Dear Mr. Gill,

The South Lakes Safari Zoo that you manage has been the focus of numerous reports and investigations which allege gross neglect of the animals under your care. Over the past four years, nearly 500 animals — many threatened or endangered — reportedly died due to poor nutrition, poor hygiene and a lack of veterinary care. Other healthy animals were killed simply because there was nowhere left to house them. Those that have managed to survive show clear signs of stress and undernourishment. The level of neglect that has occurred under your ownership is made all the more shocking by the fact that these animals have had to suffer for so many years.

In light of the Barrow council’s recent decision to deny your zoo’s license renewal, I urge you not to seek an appeal and to step down at once from its ownership. You must allow the zoo to shut down and transfer all animals safely to other facilities where they can be rehabilitated. It is my further hope that after your resignation, you will not oversee the care of any animals in the future.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: The Shaun Woods

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  1. How has this been allowed to get so bad? SHUT IT DOWN NOW.

  2. Kathryn Irby says:

    This Zoo is unfit to even be open, given the blatant animal abuse that it has inflicted upon the animals that have been detained within it!!!! SHUT THIS “ZOO” DOWN!!!!! (Zoo’s should be outlawed for this very reason!!!)

  3. How much more suffering before you close these doors. Resign, close the zoo. The world is watching.

  4. I have been quiet a few times over the years and I haven’t seen any thing to upset me or give me cause for concern and I’m an animal abuse campaigner.There must be overwhelming evidence and that is why I have signed this petition

    • The abuse in zoos and circuses is usually kept hidden. All may look fine on the surface, but it’s just for show.

  5. This zoo should have been shut down years ago, with such horrible animal abuse going on.
    Shut it down, and send the poor remaining animals to good sanctuaries where they will be properly cared for.

  6. We locals have known all about this idiot for a long time but the general public seem to like it because they only see what he wants them to see!Thank god for the ruling- it’s well overdue.

  7. Cynthia Gannon says:

    It makes me ashamed to be British.

  8. Tina shurtleff says:

    The moral compass of a nation Is determined by how their animals are treated.


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