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South Lakes Wild Animal Park The latest rant from David Gill

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by mrcriss, 30 Aug 2014.

  1. mrcriss

    mrcriss Well-Known Member

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    He really does love to get it all off his chest in the most public fashion, doesn't he?:confused:

    "We have been feeding our Tigers and other big cats up the poles since April 1996. We have since then probably done this procedure for the huge welfare benefit to the animals by climbing a ladder to place the meat at the top very close to 75,000 times in that 18 years. A few months ago one of the keepers was blown off the ladder by a gust of wind and broke a collar bone. She is a great keeper and realized the wind was too strong after the event and has no issue with the method of feeding at all and loves to see the cats do this everyday. However even though the keepers wear helmets, strap the ladders to the poles firmly and have permanent foot fixing points for the ladders our Local Authority , Barrow Borough Council wishes to stop us from feeding in this way as they claim it to be too dangerous for the staff. One issue in 18 years... one issue in over 75,000 ladder climbs and a Senior environmental health officer has placed an order upon us that would stop this practice totally and end the cats exciting feeding time, your amazement at the energy and power and force dramatic change on our unique way of stimulating our cats. Statistically you are in more danger driving to the Zoo to work ! . It is a free country isnt it? do we still have choices? Are we allowed to question the reason or fairness of these decisions by one particular individual ? Do you our followers have any comments? I wonder if any of the elected councilors are aware of the dramatic controls the Environmental Health Department at the Barrow in Furness Borough Council are aiming to force upon us."

    Lest we forget that he was successfully sued to the tune of £30,000 for sending a pregnant woman up the pole!

    I'm told that the inquest into the tiger mauling is in the next few days....not to mention the fact that he's still in hot water for allegedly allowing 3 ibis to escape. Not really the time to be stirring up more trouble, eh David?:D
     
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    the above quote is from the South Lakes Facebook page (with currently 538 comments in support of the zoo, of course :p). It has since been edited to add the following:

    "We tried a number of years ago to use a rope pulley system but one tiger managed to get its foot caught between the ropes at the top and was left hanging for a long while until it freed itself causing injury to the Tiger, we tried long poles and the meat fell on the keepers heads far too often. We have made every effort to find solutions that benefit the staff and the animals and yet we are still in this situation. It is imperative we feed in this manner, scientifically proven way of improving health , fitness and welfare for the big cats. It is a free country isnt it? do we still have choices? Are we allowed to question the reason or fairness of these decisions by one particular individual ? Do you our followers have any comments? I wonder if any of the elected councilors are aware of the dramatic controls the Environmental Health Department at the Barrow in Furness Borough Council are aiming to force upon us."


    Remember to keep this thread civil.
     
  3. mrcriss

    mrcriss Well-Known Member

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    There have been negative comments...in particular from my friends;)...but true to form they are immediately deleted. I'm unable to pass comment on Facebook because Gill hates me:D

    You'd think that seeing as the tiger feed is the supposedly the star attraction of his zoo, he'd invest in coming up with some alternative solution other than repeatedly putting his staff in precarious situations.:rolleyes:
     
  4. mrcriss

    mrcriss Well-Known Member

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    But what always gets me is that he's so quick to publicly slam the authorities....not the best way to appease them and get your own way, is it?
     
    Last edited: 30 Aug 2014
  5. Indlovu

    Indlovu Well-Known Member

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    I've never heard of any issues using an extendable pole to hang the food up anywhere else, so this must surely be down to incorrect technique?

    Unfortunately this is yet another scenario where Mr Gill has gone about his business in a very unprofessional manner.
     
  6. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    he does seem overly averse to working with the local council on any matter at all.

    I haven't been able to find anything online apart for the Facebook stuff quoted above. Given the loose interpretation Gill has with facts I wouldn't be surprised if the council has simply said something along the lines of "just use a safety harness, like any other industry does when working at heights."
     
  7. lamna

    lamna Well-Known Member

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    Poles on hing like a boat mast? Poles that recess into the ground like a bollard? Buy a cherry picker? Buy a quadrotor drone?

    Actually I can't really see why just using a pole would be that difficult.
     
  8. mrcriss

    mrcriss Well-Known Member

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    Especially as they seem to consistently grant him the favour of renewing his license, in spite of the constant controversies/escapes etc! I'm sure the only reason they do is because his zoo is the only attraction bringing tourism into an otherwise dead area.
     
  9. SHAVINGTONZOO

    SHAVINGTONZOO Well-Known Member

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    observations interleaved above (I was a Borough Councillor for many years, involved in licensing and H&S issues).
     
  10. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    It's a shame that Mr Gill's ' free country and choices ' only seem to relate to his own choices/views! Gay people or smokers (see gallery) clearly don't have the right to their choices!
     
  11. mrcriss

    mrcriss Well-Known Member

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    I wish there was a "like" button for this^^^^;)
     
  12. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    75,000 divided by 6570 equals 11.415. I gather the zoo feeds all their big cats on the poles (?), and they have multiple species/enclosures. I doubt they have 11 pole feeds every day but it is possible. I think 75,000 must be a probably fairly hefty exaggeration but if they have been pole-feeding every day with several cats for 18 years then it would be well more than 7,500.

    On the other side of that, of course, is that if you have keepers carrying heavy sections of meat up 16ft poles up to eleven times a day, some sort of safety equipment should really be deemed prudent.
     
  13. Big Rob

    Big Rob Well-Known Member

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    They do also feed the Jaguars and Snow Leopards up poles.:eek:

    I have only attended once but it was at Easter,so everything was pretty wet and slippery. When the 2 keepers came to put the meat up the pole they un-chained a ladder that was inside the enclosure ( why it needed to be pad-locked whilst INSIDE a Snow leopard enclosure is beyond me,or can they team up and scale the fence with the ladder ;) ),then carried it over to the poles,slipping and sliding as they went. Then they proceeded to carry a great big joint of some animal,probably horse,carried it up the ladder and hooked it on a 6 inch nail that was hammered into the pole. At no time did we see the ladder lashed to the pole. There was no safety harness or hard hat used,and the person scaling the ladder had mud encrusted wellington boots on. I'm surprised they don't have 1 accident a week!!
    I'm sure it wont cost them too much to rig up some sort of pulley system with a bigger version of a bull-dog clip to hold the meat til it is pulled at by the respective big cat.And to say that a tiger got its foot caught in the rope means they didn't design it right. All the respective cables/wires/ropes could be hidden inside tubes so no chance of snagging. I hope they can carry on doing it in some form because it is quite entertaining,shows off how powerful and agile the cats are,and must give the cats some good enrichment instead of just finding meat laid on the ground every day.
    The people who say use a cherry picker obviously have no idea of the logistics of using one of those. They can only be used on dead level ground,which there definitely isn't much of at South lakes,or many wildlife parks come to that!
    I would just like to add that I have attended South Lakes in person,have got no axe to grind with Mr Gill or any of his staff. This is my opinion on what I have witnessed,not just read about. I have been once and on the whole enjoyed my visit and would probably go back again. Some of the mixed exhibits leave a lot to be desired,but it would be a shame to see the "pole feeding" stopped.
     
  14. Davef68

    Davef68 Well-Known Member

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    The EH section at Barrow are also the Licensing section, so it's the same people, but with different hats on.
     
  15. Nisha

    Nisha Well-Known Member

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  16. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

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    I think Mr. Gill is treated very well by the local authority, and he still has to moan about them.
     
  17. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Can anyone explain what a 'direction order' means, particularly in this context?
     
  18. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    The local authority can make a written direction order if the zoo does not meet a condition of its zoo licence. This might happen after an inspection of the zoo. If the direction order is not complied with in a specified period (which cannot exceed 2 years) the zoo, or a specified section of the zoo, must be closed. It is an offence not to comply with a direction order.

    Alan
     
  19. Animal Friendly

    Animal Friendly Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps the council officials are just now being seen to take an active interest in the activities at South Lakes Wildlife Park just in case at the pending inquest they may be accused of not being fully diligent in their enforcement of this parks zoo license in the past, and thus making sure that they are to be seen as diligent in their work, in an attempt to safeguard their cushy council jobs if they get their hands wrapped at this inquest!
     
  20. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Thankyou. I guess this may have been what happened with a. the Chessington Gorilla enclosure and b. the 'Chimp Row' at Twycross. The former had to be upgraded, though they took their time over it. The latter as we know thankfully no longer houses Chimps.