Following South Lakes Safari Zoo as staff try to rescue the zoo's reputation. The zoo made headlines when it was revealed that almost 500 animals had died there in four years.
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Do you want to stand on here? So nothing to be scared of.
I'll give you that.
And just hold it there. Nice and still.
Last spring, a controversial zoo in Cumbria was almost forced to close.
The summer that followed was a fight for survival.
Over five months, we filmed the people determined to rescue
South Lakes Safari Zoo.
Nothing here works properly.
What does it mean to be a zoo on the bread line?
-No cake for animals.
-Which species should a zoo keep?
This is going, this is going. Bloody hell. We're going to have nothing left.
And when there is conflict between business interests
and animal welfare...
It's just beyond belief. I've never experienced it.
Nowhere else on this planet.
..how should we look after lives in captivity?
I see you looking down.
I mean, I don't think it gets more perfect.
What do you reckon she's thinking?
Yeah, I think that means, "Hmm, breakfast."
For over 20 years,
exotic species from all over the world have been entertaining
the public at South Lakes Safari Zoo.
Do you like giraffes?
-You've been obsessed from an early age, haven't you?
There's worse things to be obsessed with.
The zoo sits in Southwest Cumbria.
It features open spaces
where visitors can walk among some of the animals.
-They're not shy, are they?
-No, these ones aren't.
Another major attraction are the four species of big cats.
-Are you guys local?
-About two... About two hours away.
-About two hours' drive.
-I love this place.
-Were you worried about it for a while?
Yeah, I was. Did think it was going to close, I was in tears.
I was like, "It can't shut down!" I'm so glad it stayed open.
Safari Zoo was set up in 1994.
The dream of entrepreneur David Gill.
But in recent years, animal welfare issues have dogged the park,
and in 2014, Gill received a conviction
for allowing an invasive species to escape.
The applicant has been convicted of an offence listed in section 4-5,
-of the act...
-Gill maintains he was treated unfairly.
But in March last year,
he was refused a licence to continue running the zoo.
Since then, the remaining staff have been picking up the pieces.
They formed a new company.
And after making improvements...
they persuaded the council to grant them
their own zoo licence in May 2017.
can you please work out for me how many weeks we've been doing this?
17 weeks and five days.
Thank you. You've all worked tremendously hard over the last
17 weeks and five days.
Licence will be for four years.
We'll get inspected regularly throughout, but well done
for getting here because it's been a hard slog.
And I just want to say thank you very much,
-and I'm really proud of all of you.
-I might just go and get some fresh air.
-I'm just emotional here.
Winning the licence is just the first hurdle.
Visitors have been put off by the bad press.
Over the summer months,
the zoo needs to win them back to survive the rest of the year.
It has been tough, you know, we've felt a massive turndown in numbers
at the door.
We set up an income budget for August of something like £800,000,
which is vastly reduced,
you know, and takes into account the kind of issues that we've
encountered this year. It's just a case of survival, really.
Can I just borrow you to go down
and look at those vulture pens before I move them across?
The new licence comes with strict conditions from the local council.
-Just take you with me.
The zoo have had to take on a new director of animals to modernise standards.
Zoos have four tasks. You know what zoos are here for?
Now I'm lost.
-Recreation. Recreation, got it, see?
Andreas Kaufmann is a consultant who's spent over 25 years working
with the global zoo community.
We have a very nice place.
It's just a very high density of animals.
And I realise that numbers in visitors have come down.
-So, we'll talk about how to do things a little differently.
We could turn it into a better place for the animals.
You could also create a better experience for the people.
He wants to challenge every aspect of animal care.
How they feed animals.
Which animals they should keep.
And how they engage
with international conservation programmes.
We have to bring it to a highly professional level.
But this may involve
actions that may not correlate
with what some people feel emotionally.
Are you optimistic about things?
Absolutely. I am optimistic.
Visitor numbers may be down,
but the costs to run the park remain the same.
Safari Zoo's food bill can clock in at £10,000 a month.
But savings can be made.
That's the jaguars...
Cheap zoo grade meat is marked unsafe
for human consumption with a blue dye.
I've had some full calves come in this morning,
which is always very exciting.
The lions have had one this morning already,
so this one is going to the vultures.
Most zoos try to replicate natural behaviour
as much as possible.
All the organs are still in there.
That's what they enjoy the most.
It doesn't bother me. I'm a vegetarian,
but I spent most of my life absolutely stinking of meat,
so why not?
Fresh produce is a much bigger expense than meat.
So we're going to do the barrow run.
So the keepers supplement their fruit and veg orders with a daily
trip to ten local supermarkets,
picking up any freebies they might put to use.
This is going to be an adventure, gang.
-Do you have anything today?
Do you think some people would be surprised
that a zoo relies on gifts?
I'm not really sure, because I would imagine like the bigger zoos will
have more money to get sort of
great amounts of food.
That was a good one because there was a lot of citrus in that
and we don't get oranges and the citrus is so good for the birds.
-'Yes, please, if you don't mind, just...'
Every day, we just do a little sort of log of what we get
from each place. Just keep an eye on the petrol that we use.
I've only been here 18 months,
but even though the zoo has had all these scandals,
the prospect of the future is so exciting.
The minute we got the licence through, I put my flat on the market,
sold it two weeks later, put in an offer up here, and fingers crossed,
you know, I'll be settled up here.
And that's how I'm here.
Since she moved to the zoo, Kathy has taken an interest
in the red pandas, Pan and Tinkerbell.
The pandas draw the crowds.
But they're also endangered in the wild,
where numbers have halved in under 20 years.
Safari Zoo has recently reared two young cubs.
So, this is one of Tink's cubs.
I mean, I don't think it gets more perfect.
I can't tell you.
Like, I look at my friends' kids and stuff and I think, "No thanks."
And then I look at a panda cub and I literally could just like cry
with joy, like it's...I'm their mother.
It's very weird.
C'est la vie. Nothing new.
If a zoo wants to play a role in global conservation efforts,
they'll mate their animals on the recommendation of international
In recent years,
Safari Zoo has often made its own breeding decisions.
We breed like rabbits. Everything does here.
How important are babies to the zoo?
Oh, well, of course they're very important.
The public go absolutely mad, especially, you know, for like
the lemurs, because they're bouncing around, interacting.
The kids get to see little things running around.
Look at the baby one! It's running in the zoo!
Kathy checks on the red panda cubs
and their parents at least twice a day.
I see you looking down.
Come on. Come on.
Here she comes. Here we go.
When I first started working with the pandas,
they were a bit stressed out and they weren't looking in the best
condition that they could've looked,
so I took on this role of really nurturing them.
It means everything, honestly. I absolutely adore them.
Hello, little one.
It wasn't just the condition of the red pandas that raised concerns
in the past.
The park's welfare issues have made headline news.
Last year, it was reported that almost 500 of their animals had died
in under four years.
'It was David Gill's attitude towards the number of animal deaths
'which concerned inspectors.
'And a keeper told the inspection team that their instructions were
'to dispose of bodies and not tell anyone about them.'
Andreas visited the zoo in 2016...
while David Gill was still in charge.
The first time I got here, what I saw was shocking,
especially what they were feeding some species.
Leftovers, stuff they got from supermarkets.
Why were they feeding them that?
It was cheap. It didn't cost anything.
Is it basic stuff?
No, it's VERY basic stuff.
This is a bone sticking out here.
That was taken in July last year.
I see it. They're really skinny.
You can see all the ribs.
This is not what a giraffe is supposed to look like.
They look totally different today. Today, they're well fed.
But if you can't provide your animals with the right diets
and the right environment, you just don't keep animals.
-Don't. Don't film that.
How did it make you feel when you saw all this?
You know, you don't want to hear what I felt.
Probably can't put that on BBC.
Everyone was struggling for survival.
The animals were. Employees were.
There was one person who would just decide everything.
But everyone who worked here, they were here for the animals.
Especially the keepers. They are good, yeah.
They really cared for their animals. And that's the baseline.
Animal diets are one of Andreas' first priorities.
By feeding animals the wrong stuff, you could actually kill them.
He wants a bigger range of fresh produce,
and to make sure it's prepared properly...
Right. Can we go through this?
..especially the free food they get from the supermarkets.
Just look at it. Tell me what you think.
-There must be no mould. Not a spot.
Loads of the stuff is mouldy, and you just can't feed that to animals.
They should be getting about the same stuff that we eat.
Caramel cake. I wouldn't eat it if you paid me.
No cake for animals.
Andreas' dietary changes will push up the food bills.
The zoo's cash flow is already stretched.
I think when he's gone to other zoos and, you know,
he's used to a decent budget, a hefty budget.
And there you go, we've brought you in, can you please resolve it?
And he's had a decent budget to work to. We don't have that here.
I'm speaking to the lady about the red panda experience this morning.
-We need to balance stuff.
-She's over in the entrance building.
This summer, the zoo's financial hopes rely on numbers being boosted
by tourists and families.
That's 19.50 then, please.
And to lure the punters back, the zoo has slashed its prices.
There you go. Don't lose that.
-Enjoy your day.
Our normal admission price is £16.50,
but we've got an offer on at the moment.
It's £5 per adult, children are free,
and then we charge for animal feeding,
food bags, things like that.
If we don't make enough on the animal feedings,
the business will struggle, so we're selling everything we can down here,
except kidneys. We don't sell kidneys!
These days, the zoo relies on paid extras on top of the entrance fee.
We do have the £7 per person wristband, which will get you
a giraffe feeding and a lemur feeding.
Many animal parks offer hand feedings for extra cash.
That's just £5, thank you.
We've got three tigers, one male...
But like a few others in the UK,
Safari Zoo takes things a stage further.
They offer big cat feedings for £25.
If you just make sure there's a bit of meat stuck out the end
that they can get hold of.
Keep your hand a bit further back.
There you go.
Hand feeding, it is a way to generate more income, which is,
obviously, in our situation, a very good reason to do it.
So, these are Sumatran tigers.
There's less than 400 of these left in the wild.
But looking into the future,
the hand-feeding will have to be reviewed,
because conservation is the clear message of a modern zoo of the
21st century, and conservation is not about hand feeding.
Beautiful, absolutely beautiful creatures, aren't they?
Look at that.
You're a big cuddle puss, you just want your tummy doing, don't you?
They're just like big pussycats, you forget.
Yeah, a lot of the behaviours are very similar.
But the minute you turn your back, they'd go straight for you.
Many visitors come to the zoo for the big cats.
But it was an incident in this section of the park
that first made national headlines.
In May 2013, keeper Sarah McClay was killed by a tiger.
'24-year-old Sarah considered it a privilege to work with big cats.
'She died when a tiger entered the keeper's area of the tiger house
'through what should have been a self-closing locked door.
'But the mechanism was faulty. The zoo's maintenance
'and inspection regime had been inadequate.'
'Do you feel responsible for her death?'
The business was fined over £250,000.
It was the beginning of the end for David Gill as head of the zoo.
Today, Yaz runs the carnivore section of the park.
-This is Nero. Tiger 4, I'm entering lion pen B1.
Nero is one of the zoo's three lions.
What are you going in for?
Just put this in for him to have a play with.
How long have you known Nero?
Oh, God... It must be about almost three years now, I think.
When he arrived, he didn't have all of his mane.
He just had this little flick on the top of his head,
so it's nice to see he's grown up a big boy, isn't it?
Tiger 4, I've left lion pen B1.
-How old do lions live to?
-About the same as a normal
house cat, really. It can be from 16-20 years.
He's so cute, I love him.
Oh, I tell a lie.
I don't want to play with it as well, it's yours.
Do you like working with cats?
Yeah, they're my favourite, I love them.
I think it's like a little reminder of Sarah, really.
-Do you think about her?
-Yeah, I think about her every single day.
It was quite a heavy time for us.
Hopefully, looking after them like she would have wanted.
So I really like working with them, and, I don't know,
maybe it makes it a bit more special for me, in a way.
-Tiger 4, I've left tiger pen 1.
Hi, Chin Chin.
-I don't think she likes you!
The zoo is relying on a summer boom,
but their troubled history has prompted questions in Parliament.
Mr Woodcock is our Barrow and Furness MP,
and he's just won support for a parliamentary debate
on the whole zoo legislation issue.
So I've just got the press release.
-What does it say?
-"Barrow and Furness MP won the support
"of a top government minister for a parliamentary debate on the legislation
"of the oversight of zoos following the appalling neglect of animals
"uncovered at South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton earlier this year."
You know, it'll just bring it all back out again at the worst possible
time, right for summer holidays, for summer.
Yeah, we get them for 5.95 a box.
The same for the lettuce.
Over the coming months, the zoo will depend on their most
popular animals to win visitors back.
But this morning, something is wrong in one of the enclosures.
Nero is unconscious and unresponsive.
I found him this morning first thing.
He was fine before I went home, but obviously there's a long time
between half past five and eight o'clock in the morning.
The staff need to move Nero indoors,
so they must make sure he stays unconscious.
We don't know what happened to him,
so we just want to make sure he's OK.
And we want to make sure he's OK, staying alive ourselves.
Nero's breathing is laboured...
and his body temperature is dropping...
but the cause is unclear.
So we've basically been, first of all, keeping the lion alive...
raising his body temperature and now we're just getting fluids into him.
We've basically done all that we could do at this stage.
Have you ever seen anything like this before?
Not like that, not that an animal just collapses in the enclosure.
But I've seen animals that were under anaesthesia,
and that's a pretty similar state that he's obviously in.
Three days after he was discovered asleep...
..Nero deteriorates and dies.
At just four years old, he was the youngest of the zoo's lions.
His body is sent for a postmortem, to determine the cause of death.
In the meantime, Andreas is pressing on with his reforms.
There's such a lot going on in here. That's a nice big enclosure,
but there's still too many animals in here.
So we go and find other zoos that could care for some of the species
and animals that we currently have better than we can at this stage.
He's preparing a list of animals to move elsewhere.
Pygmy hippo. I think we should make him available to other institutions.
He is a breeding male, so he'd be very valuable for somebody that
-wants to breed him.
-There's no point in this male being here alone.
-In solitary. He should breed, so...
And ultimately we're here for conservation.
The keepers are meeting to discuss which species to move on.
We really, really need to reduce species.
Animals selected to go to other zoos are added to a surplus list.
So, red kangaroos, one male's going to Flamingo Land.
The black howlers. Do we want to keep them?
-I like them.
-I like them, but that's not the point.
The thing is - can we care for them?
Pygmy hippo. I think we should surplus him too.
To put it nicely, the indoor is just crap.
That's the nice version.
-I have a private home.
-I'm not sure we can.
It's a dangerous wild animal.
Currently we have a bit more than 1,000 animals on site,
and I can't tell you the numbers now, but we'll reduce
-30% to 40%, maybe a bit more.
-Wow! That's a lot of animals.
That's a lot, that's a lot of animals.
It's Andreas' responsibility to oversee the animal collection.
But the zoo won't survive,
unless financial targets are met this summer.
How do you feel about the proposed changes to the animal collection?
For us, we've both been here a long time.
-And I think that we have a lot more contact with the visitors,
and we know what the visitor enjoys and we know
why they drive two and a half hours, three hours, to get here.
-I would be cautious if those changes
meant any major difference from a visitor perception.
We're quite limited to what you can do to make yourself different.
So I think what we have at the minute is
something you have to keep hold of.
And we don't want to be the same as any other zoo in England
and any other zoo in Europe, you know. We want to be different.
Some things you don't need to change.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Summer in Cumbria...
and there's been more troubling news.
One of the two red panda cubs that Kathy helped to rear has died.
I'm quite bothered about the other cub now, and obviously it's a cold,
wet day, so I'm just going to nip in now and check she's OK.
I shall keep you posted.
-It's the cub. It's not made it.
-Tiger 14 to Teresa. You're in the vet room?
Tink, she's a new mum.
And maybe she's not quite sure what to do yet.
Still with us? No?
Let's have a look.
She looked absolutely strong and healthy last week.
-It's not your fault, you've been checking every day.
Tinks seems a bit funny as well. She's being a bit...
Was she attentive yesterday?
-OK, so possibly they haven't been fed.
Maybe. Can I leave you with her for a bit?
-Yeah, that's absolutely fine.
Mammals, like the red pandas,
tend to survive longer in captivity than those in the wild.
But in both environments, infant mortality is common.
Nobody did anything wrong.
We have a thousand animals on site, deaths occur.
That's like in a village where a thousand people live.
They don't stay alive for...
the rest of time. Sometimes people die, sometimes kids die, which is...
Nobody wants that, but that's the way it is.
And sometimes, even though you put all the efforts in,
you do everything possible, you provide all the veterinary care,
you spend all the money on whatever is possible...
Sometimes it just doesn't work out.
What about the recent reports, you know,
almost 500 deaths in under four years?
The number 500 just doesn't mean anything.
It's not so much about the mortality rate,
it's knowing why these animals have died and then it's -
what have you done about it?
He was four, wasn't he, when he passed away?
It's now been a fortnight since Nero died.
Rumours are going round the zoo that he was fed contaminated meat.
Has it been released yet that Nero's died?
No, because they're still waiting for some of the results and I think
if you don't know the full story and you can't answer the questions
properly, you look like you're making stuff up.
You look like you're trying to hide
and cover stuff when you know you're not.
So I think until we all fully understand,
fully know and we've got the results proving it,
I think it will be just kept to us.
But he's beautiful.
Morning. Are you all right there?
It's August, the month that will make or break Safari Zoo.
Cheaper pricing on the door seems to be winning families back.
Numbers are the same as they were at this time last year and in previous
summers, so yeah, it's looking good.
The animal feedings are proving popular.
If you haven't got any just pull your hand back,
so you don't get your hand pulled...
So that is a 97% decrease in tiger numbers in less than 100 years.
Also, there used to be nine different subspecies of tiger...
and now there are only six.
With business booming,
engaging with animal conservation programmes is next on Andreas' list.
Monday - we put you in charge.
He's appointing a deputy with experience from 14 zoos to help them
reconnect with the global community.
Make sure you get registered for EAZA, you know,
be in touch with people and bring us back to the zoo world.
It's a job, the EAZA conference, not a jolly.
David is taking head keeper Kim to the Netherlands for this year's
conference of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.
Hello, mate. How're you doing?
So who are you representing?
-How's it going?
-It's coming on.
Safari Zoo once held full membership with EAZA,
but it was downgraded following an inspection in 2015.
They have no captive population,
they're just running around in the wild.
Being allowed back in would be recognition of their commitment
to conservation programmes and animal welfare.
What do we want to save, what can we save and where can we save it?
David and Kim are here to get the latest on the breeding programmes.
-How are you?
I'm well, and you?
And they're also here to network.
We've been on the naughty step of EAZA for a number of years now.
Good to see you again.
And we need to get off it and get back into the fold.
-Where are you now, Cumbria?
-Ah, South Lakes, yes.
-Yeah... The famous South Lakes.
-Infamous South Lakes!
When you're introducing yourself to new people, what's it like?
I think they'll kind of go "How's it going?"
But it's not in a kind of general, "How's it going?"
It's kind of an implied "how's it going," or that's the impression,
I don't know, maybe I'm paranoid.
Hello. Hello, hi. Hello. Marianne.
David's got the fact that he's been known for other zoos and
stuff like that, but in this kind of world, I'm an absolute nobody.
So it's kind of getting past the old to the new, sort of thing.
I think it will take a while.
EAZA's breeding programmes are designed to keep captive populations
of species healthy and prevent inbreeding.
But when Safari Zoo bred the red pandas,
they did so without their blessing.
I can see Tink up in the tree there. She didn't eat this morning.
Oh, look, here she is.
Tinkerbell, hello, baby.
I'm worried that she's going down there now to look for the cubs,
because that's where the nest was.
If the zoo want to rejoin EAZA,
they should follow breeding recommendations,
even if that means no more cute panda cubs.
As a zoo, you need to have those young animals, you know,
it does bring in the public.
The pandas are incredibly cute, they're adored,
they're very well looked after...
but I also know that we're very keen to be taken seriously in the zoo
world, so it's important how we move with this.
Of course, every zoo wants attractive animals,
but one of our key reasons for the existence of zoos is conservation.
So breeding programmes - you should be participating in.
Tiger 4, I'm opening snow leopard pen 1...
Following conservation recommendations means zoos
can also lose some of their most loved animals.
What are we doing?
The EAZA snow leopard breeding programme has found a genetic match
for one of the zoo's young females.
What is it?
They're to breed on the other side of the world at Melbourne Zoo.
The crate's in there for Mishka,
so she can get used to the box before she moves to Australia.
Snow leopards are quite nervous,
so hopefully it should mean she will smoothly walk into the crate when we
want her to go and there'll be no problems at all.
Got to try, haven't you?
Oh, and he's gone.
The population of this species in the wild has long been under threat.
It's all right, come on, Mishka.
Yeah. Right through.
Yeah, what a good girl.
Mishka is one of about 600 snow leopards kept in zoos worldwide.
She's just so cute!
You're a big girl now, aren't you? You'll leave me.
On top of losing Mishka,
Andreas' surplus list means many more animals going to other zoos.
He's asked Kim to take a lead in arranging the transports.
So, Zims is online,
so it means it's available for anybody who's got Zims to see.
So it's kind of a way of, I suppose, it's a really bad way of saying it,
but advertising your animals that you don't want any more,
sort of thing. These are the species available.
Obviously that's our surplus list at the moment.
What's your general take on the surplus list, then?
We've got quite a lot on there.
What are you worried about?
There not being anything to see.
I think we need to be careful...
because if you're moving things and you're leaving empty enclosures,
what are you going to put in the empty enclosures?
So it's all about the plan for the future, and I think for everybody...
If the plan is like we're moving this, but next week we're doing
this, then that's fair enough. But if we're moving this
and there's just a big field,
then you can just go to the local park and you're in the same place.
Nero's postmortem results are back.
They confirm the lion didn't die of natural causes.
Was there any indication as to what actually happened?
I don't know whether Karen's okayed that for you guys to know,
but it was barbiturate poisoning. So it was in the meat.
It was drugs in the meat.
So, barbiturates is what you use to put animals down,
to put them to sleep.
Now we have an agreement with our supplier that we only get from them
meat that's been shot, so it hasn't had any...
It's not supposed to have had any drugs at all.
I don't really know what's happened or how it's happened, but...
How does that make you feel?
There's no sign on the meat at all.
It's just in there, so there's nothing we could have known,
but it means that he died from something we gave him,
which is pretty devastating.
You do everything to save the animal's life,
and you find out that it's been poisoned.
It's just beyond belief.
Yeah, that is very upsetting.
Have you ever seen anything like it before?
No. No, I've never experienced that. Nowhere else on this planet.
Summer is over.
And the zoo's board of directors is meeting.
Right. Who's going to run this one?
Despite Nero's test results,
barbiturates in the meat supply is not on the agenda.
But Andreas' surplus list is.
There's animals on there that
I have no idea why we would even get rid of them.
At the moment, we're just trying to find room to move,
-because we have so many animals.
-I'm just hearing whispers,
and I'm thinking this is going, this is going.
Bloody hell, we're going to have nothing left.
Organisations like EAZA gave you recommendations,
what to keep and what not to keep.
But there are certain things that you think, "Right, OK,
"we're going to have to protect and not dwindle."
I tell you, if all these animals that are on the surplus list go,
which will not be the case,
you will not even notice that the animals are gone,
because we still have many animals outside.
-When I go through TripAdvisor,
-It just says "lack of animals."
-Lack of animals.
I don't know where this comes from.
-Because you fall over animals walking through this zoo.
OK, I just think this is kind of our zoo,
and I think all things like this should be put across the board,
not just like, "Right, put all them on the surplus list."
I didn't know it existed, this surplus list.
I knew that obviously that there's a surplus list,
but I wasn't aware until I heard about it,
that it was even out there to even ask to be...to look at.
The thing is, if...
Why we have this surplus list in the first thing
is so we get room to move, so we get room to shift animals around,
so we can actually put animals into buildings when they're sick.
Managing animals in some parts of the zoo is impossible.
It is and I think we get that. That it's difficult.
And we will be reducing deaths.
But it's well worth it. The end result is well worth it.
I'm happy to show you a few pictures of the past.
Like the good old days.
That's the good old days we're talking about.
See how skinny they are? You see when they walk up?
Lemurs, they were killing each other for food.
We know, we were here when it was happening.
-I just think that it's like a shame, personally...
-Just let remind you of it.
I don't want reminding, because I think that's not what we're here to do now.
The highest priority's always animal welfare.
If we cannot provide it with all that it needs,
it has to go to a place that can.
This is not a discussion at all.
Look at this. Not a leaf left.
Two weeks after getting in touch with EAZA's red panda breeding
programme, Kathy's received a response.
He's asked for us not to breed. They're not recommended breeders,
so I've spoken with Andreas
and we're obviously going to abide by that.
-How do you feel about that?
-I'm a bit gutted,
because they are particularly beautiful, but you know,
we're pushing to join EAZA and we're really wanting to adhere to any
breeding recommendations, so, obviously, that's what we shall do.
Pan and Tinkerbell are a good genetic match,
but it's at the breeding programme's discretion
to decide whether Safari Zoo should rear more young.
Tell me how you feel the meeting last night went.
Do you think there's a bit of resistance to change?
I think maybe, the only thing I can think of is maybe just a little bit
frightened. You know, some of the guys here, not particularly me,
have been through quite a lot, like generally quite a lot.
At the same time, it's got to be done,
and it's a positive move forward, so...crack on.
The zoo's summer of survival is behind them.
But the winter that lies ahead
will pose even tougher challenges.
All right, come back.
We have met our targets for summer,
but the zoo's future is on a knife edge, and, you know,
we don't go into winter with a massive cushion at all,
and winter is the worst time for any outdoor attraction.
Two months on from Nero's death,
meat is still arriving at the zoo from the same supplier.
I would like to know what is going on with regards to Nero's case.
Is there a case? Nothing has been said to me,
and I think this is a really important issue.
Yeah, they are our only suppliers of meat.
-And have we got rid of that meat? Is that gone now?
-No, it's still there.
Is somebody going to take responsibility for this?
For his death? I don't really understand.
It just seems like it happened
and I don't know if anything has been done.
Karen is pursuing to speak to our current supplier.
We've spoken to our suppliers
and they are trying to ascertain how it's happened.
We'll continue to work with them
and communicate back and forth, you know, until we get...
Try and get some kind of resolution.
-What do you mean?
-It's really tricky,
because obviously we want to make sure that we, you know,
don't have a repeat of what's happened.
But at the same time, the one thing that we do know is
they will bring us what they've got, when they've got it,
and we need to make sure that we've got that in stock.
It's just not an easy thing to replace.
In the UK, zoos can legally be supplied with a cheap category
of meat, but it shouldn't be from
stock that's been euthanized with barbiturates.
There's no way this could happen in the country I come from,
because a company that sells meat
would never be able to buy an animal
from an abattoir that is not legal to be food.
It is a worry. It is a worry. It can't... It's happened once.
I was told it happened in other zoos too.
So it obviously... There is a chance that it happens again.
The remains of the contaminated batch of meat that killed Nero
are still in the zoo's freezer.
It's just really fucking annoying, to be quite honest,
that it's not even gone and it's still in the freezer after about two months of him dying.
And it's meant to have been sorted out.
I'm just sick of saying something, to be quite honest.
I sound like a broken record.
Does it worry you at all?
Yeah, it does.
To not know what I'm going to feed out next
could potentially kill something else.
The remainder of the meat that killed Nero is still in the freezer.
-What's going to happen with that?
-Until the investigation's,
you know, maybe reaching a conclusion or come to an end...
We don't want to get rid of them until we know whether we need...
Whether anybody will need them in the future.
-Those particular batches of meat?
On the recommendations of the international breeding programme...
Mishka. What's that?
..Mishka the snow leopard is leaving for Melbourne Zoo.
Can they settle anywhere?
I think it depends what they're used to.
The temperature here for them is fine.
Australia might be a bit of a struggle for her at first,
settling in with the heat, but I'm sure you'll like Australia.
She's popped her head in.
What a good girl. No hissing or anything.
What's going on?
Where's she gone?
Say bye. Bye. He's looking for her, I think.
Mishka has spent her whole life in Cumbria...
but her mum and dad, Kady and Wolfie,
were themselves originally transported to Safari Zoo to breed.
Where's she going?
Where's she gone, Wolfie?
-Please will you let me know when you get there?
Sending Mishka to Australia
should help the zoo regain full EAZA membership.
And soon, over 100 more animals will go elsewhere.
Andreas is getting his way with the surplus list.
We are improving. I don't know if it's changing fast enough,
but it's changing.
What is it, Rome wasn't build in a day?
And it keeps falling apart.
Last time I did this, it took me a couple of years.
We've come through the summer,
which has been pretty tiring for everybody,
and I think sometimes people get impatient that the changes
haven't happened maybe as quickly as, you know, they'd like.
But when we started with this,
the goal was just to keep people's jobs and keep the place open.
-That hasn't changed.
South Lakes Safari Zoo hit the headlines when it was revealed that almost five hundred animals had died there in under four years. The zoo's founder David Gill was denied a new license to run the park, and in early 2017 remaining staff formed a new company to try and rescue the animal park. This observational documentary charts the events in the summer that followed, as the staff at the embattled zoo try to rescue their reputation by improving their practices, whilst struggling to meet financial targets to survive the rest of the year.
The zoo has also had to take on a new director of animals, Andreas Kaufmann, to help them modernise standards. Andreas is particularly concerned with what the animals eat, which species he believes the zoo should keep, and how they play a role in global conservation efforts.
Across five months of filming at South Lakes Safari Zoo, food supply problems have serious implications for one of the zoo's favourite animals and Andreas battles with the staff to vastly reduce the number of animals kept on-site. He believes they should only keep what they have capacity to care for, but others on the zoo's board worry these changes might affect visitor numbers, and the zoo's chances of survival.