Zoo at centre of lion-biting incident closed | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

Jamaica Zoo, the attraction at the centre of a recent lion-biting incident that left a zookeeper injured and was captured on video, has been ordered closed.

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) on Wednesday said it issued a Notice of Intention to Suspend its environmental permit for the operation of a zoo to Jamaica Zoo Attractions Limited, effectively ordering it closed to the public as of June 1, 2022, until the company complies with the conditions cited in the notice.

In the video that went viral that led to NEPA visiting the facility, 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.

NEPA, the Veterinary Services Division and Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals visited the facility and promised an update on their findings.

The NEPA release on Wednesday said the notice concerning Environmental Permit No 2016-11017-EP00004 for the operation of a zooidentifies breaches of the environmental permit.

NEPA said the specific nature of the breaches relates to failure to, among other things:

– Ensure that members of staff handling animals are properly trained;- Account for species held and/or filing related reports or notifications;- Submit an animal nutrition and welfare programme; and- Engage competent technical skill sets to assist with operations.

Morjorn Wallock, Director, Legal and Enforcement Division, NEPA, outlined some of the immediate steps that Jamaica Zoo is required to take in this matter.

“The company is required to engage competent technical skills to assist with the operations of the zoo; the installation of satisfactory animal enclosures for the welfare of the animals and submission of animal nutrition and welfare programme, among others.”

Jamaica Zoo was served with the notice at a meeting at NEPA’s offices at Caledonia Avenue on Monday.