Snake wrapped around a woman’s neck ... and penguins eaten by foxes
SNAKE THAT TRIED TO CHOKE DISABLED KEEPER
A disabled woman on work experience performing animal demonstrations at Snakes Alive at Barleylands, Essex, had to be saved by members of the public when a corn snake wrapped tightly around her neck, reports reveal. Zoo director Daniel Hepplewhite said: ‘Unfortunately she couldn’t get the snake from her neck and a member of staff was called to remove it.’
PEACOCK’S HEAD EATEN BY RATS
Whistleblowers described how a peacock put in isolation because of a bird flu outbreak was forgotten about and died of starvation – before rats ‘ate its head’. A report into the incident at Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire said: ‘We were assured that this was a very unusual scenario caused by human error and communication breakdown.’
CAIMAN LEFT TO DIE OUTSIDE IN WINTER
At Beaver Water World in Surrey, star attraction Colin the Caiman is said to have died when keepers left him outside during cold weather. After the death, keepers told visitors he had been moved to a ‘ good home’ to ‘sugar the pill’ for the public.
Owner Stella Quayle has admitted the caiman – a close relative of the crocodile – died because he was left outside, but a zoo spokesman subsequently said the enclosure was indoors and
heated to 30C at the time.
GATES AT PEN KEPT SHUT WITH STONES
Inspectors found gates to enclosures for large animals were kept shut with stones at Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre, Yorkshire. Officials said 18 of the largest and most exotic animals died in unexplained circum- stances in 2016 alone. A spokesman said: ‘We are a completely
different operation from 12 months ago. We have new management and new animals.’
MYSTERY DEATHS OF MEERKATS
Poor record keeping was criticised in reports into Woodside Wildlife Park, Lincolnshire, where officials noted the unex- plained deaths of 14 meerkats, 16 bats and four prairie dogs in 12 months. Director Neil Mumby attributed the high death toll to ‘clerical inputting errors’.
PENGUIN MASSACRE AFTER FOXES GET IN
Four rockhopper penguins were killed by a fox which had got into their pen after an electric fence failed at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire in 2013. The same problem occurred three years previously, when six penguins died. A spokesman for the zoo said the fence was repaired immediately following the attack four years ago.
MONKEYS ESCAPE THROUGH THE ROOF
Five escapes by monkeys were recorded in eight months last year due to poor maintenance and dilapidated enclosures at Kent’s Howletts Wild Animal Park. In one incident, 11 Javan langur monkeys fled together when a gate was left open.
Animal director Adrian Harland said disciplinary action had been taken against a keeper. Holes in a monkey house roof which allowed the escapes had since been fixed.
OWLS TETHERED TO THEIR PERCHES
At Thirsk Birds of Prey Centre in Yorkshire, owls were found to have been permanently tethered to perches and some had no access to daylight. Conditions made at an earlier inspection were not enforced because officials forgot to carry out checks. Owner Colin Badgery said: ‘All birds have access to daylight.’ He added: ‘No owls are now permanently tethered.’
Getting up close: A visitor hand-feeds a tiger at Woodside Wildlife Park in Lincolnshire