Westminster city council has launched an investigation into night parties held at London zoo, following revelations of alcohol-fuelled incidents including a beer being thrown over a tiger, a drunken woman reportedly trying to enter a lion enclosure and a man stripping off and attempting to enter the penguin pool.
The Guardian revealed earlier this month that sources at the zoo had raised serious concerns over rowdy behaviour by members of the public at the Zoo Lates sessions, but the zoo insists that animal welfare is not threatened and there is no need to review its policy of selling alcohol at the events.
“During the day, welfare and conservation is of the utmost priority. In the evening, that seems to go out of the window, and the animals become a commodity. That’s not what zoos are about, but there’s a lot of money in it,” a source said.
The Friday night events held over the summer are now being investigated by the council, which issues the zoo’s license, to see if animal welfare and public welfare are being put at risk.
Steve Harrison, Westminster city council’s operation director of street management, said: “If they are true, the stories about London zoo’s Late sessions raise real concerns both about public safety and animal welfare. We have already asked for a full report into what happened. The zoo has duties of care and clear commitments under its premises and zoo licences and we will work with managers to ensure they are upheld at any future events.”
A spokeswoman for the zoo has said the events are safe, a ban on alcohol is not necessary, and only three people were removed from the sessions during 2013 and 2014. The evenings raise £800,000 a year to fund the zoo’s conservation programmes and animal collections.
A petition calling for the zoo’s management to close the Zoo Lates has collected nearly 15,000 signatures in a fortnight.
– – – – – – – – – – – –
Do you have an opinion on this post? Anything you’d like to share?
Just click the heart icon on the top left of this blog post to leave your comments.