Jamaica Zoo on regulators’ radar after lion-biting video | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has identified “issues of animal health and animal welfare” at Jamaica Zoo in Lacovia, St Elizabeth, the attraction at which an attendant’s finger was bitten by a lion and captured in a video that went viral on the weekend.

In a statement late Monday, NEPA said a multi-agency team consisting of its representatives and representatives from the Veterinary Services Division and the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals visited the facility on Labour Day, May 23.

“The visit was in response to videos currently in circulation on social media, which were said to be captured at the facility over the weekend, and to investigate the circumstance of the occurrence,” NEPA said.

Pointing out that the attraction has two environmental permits under the Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act — Operation of a Zoo and Importation and Introduction of Species of Flora and Fauna or Other Biological Organisms — and a Wildlife Exemption Certificate, NEPA said it identified “areas of non-compliance”. The Wildlife Exemption Certificate was issued under the Wildlife Protection Act to keep several protected species, including protected birds.

NEPA said, too, that issues of animal health and animal welfare were also identified to be addressed.
Having met with the Jamaica Zoo Attraction Limited team on Monday, NEPA said a report on the findings is being prepared for discussion by the visiting team to determine the “final action”.

In the viral lion-biting video, the injured attendant, identified by Jamaica Zoo as a “contractor”, is seen struggling to get the lion to release his finger after putting it inside the animal’s cage. He eventually did and collapsed, much to the shock of the visitors who seemingly thought it might have been part of the showing.

Following the incident, Jamaica Zoo said in a statement that its management was reviewing the video “with a view of preventing any future recurrences”.