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Highland zoo ordered to close over animal welfare concerns

A vet called in by the council found 'serious deficiencies' at Black Isle Wildlife Park.

By STV News

Published 22 Jun 2016.

A Highland zoo has been ordered to close over serious concerns about animal welfare.

The decision was made after complaints from visitors led to a special inspection of the Black Isle Wildlife Park.

A government vet called in by Highland Council found "serious deficiencies" at the North Kessock zoo.

The council will help rehome the park's animals, which include a zebra, wildcats, llamas, meerkats, goats and a ring-tailed lemur.

Inspectors said staffing levels at the zoo were "far too low" and raised issues with the "general ignorance over the standards required".

They added: "The collection is seriously below the standards required to be in possession of a current zoo licence.

"The visitor experience is generally poor with no conservation and minimal education aspects.

"It is strongly recommended that the owners seriously rethink their plans for the site - for example removing all exotic species and concentrating on properly managed domestic species, gamebirds or waterfowl.

"The pure wildcats should be rehomed for conservation purposes, the zebra and ring-tailed lemur need to be rehomed urgently in a compatible social group."

The local authority issued a zoo closure notice to its owners on Wednesday, which they have 28 days to appeal.

The zoo, which describes itself as a "family-run business", opened in 1992.