Campaigners have called for the zoo’s license to be removed, after a report found an abnormal 12 percent death rate among its animals between 2013 and 2016.
Cases such as an African spurred Goliath tortoise, which died after being electrocuted by an electric fence, were “preventable”according to the Captive Animals Protection Society.
In another incident, the decomposing body of a squirrel monkey was discovered behind a radiator, while snow leopards Miska and Natasja were found partially eaten in their enclosure in 2015. Vets later raised questions over the feeding and nutrition of giraffes at the zoo.
“We investigated the zoo last summer and in our short time there we found animal welfare issues,” the Society’s campaigns officer, Maddy Taylor, said after describing the recent findings “nothing short of shocking.”
“Recent inspection reports have highlighted animals dying of hypothermia, exposure, emaciation and even being run over, and this is simply not acceptable. We urge the council to take matters seriously and close the zoo down,” she added.
The zoo was already fined £255,000 ($316,000) last June for health and safety breaches, after a zookeeper was mauled to death by a Sumatran tiger in 2013.
David Gill, who currently holds the license for South Lakes Safari, handed over management to the Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd at the end of last year.
“Mr Gill remains the licence holder, but otherwise has stepped away from all trading and management activities connected with the zoo,” a spokesman for Gill said, after the businessman was found “not a fit and suitable person” to lead a zoo.
Gill applied for a renewed licence in early 2016, and was rejected by Barrow Borough Council, but due to a loophole in the law, old licenses continue operating until renewal applications have been processed or withdrawn.