City council wrangles cause robust debate on Belfast Zoo's future | attractionsmanagement.com news
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City council wrangles cause robust debate on Belfast Zoo's future
POSTED 10 Feb 2020 . BY Andy Knaggs
Belfast Zoo's three Barbary lions are part of a global collaborative breeding programme to ensure the survival of a species that is extinct in the wild Credit: Shutterstock
The future nature of Belfast Zoo is uncertain after a motion was tabled by a city councillor to phase out the display of caged animals and return the animals "to their natural habitats". However, the motion also envisaged transforming the zoo into a "world-class visitor attraction by 2025".

Councillor Conor Maskey of Sinn Fein put forward the motion at a Belfast City Council meeting held on Monday 3 February. It proposed that the zoo should instead become a conservation centre for indigenous animals and gave a commitment to secure all existing jobs.

Reported in the Belfast Telegraph, the statement went on: "The ratepayers of this city have to subsidise the zoo to the sum of £2.5m (US$3.2m, €3m) per year. The savings from the zoo site could provide substantial funding for the much-needed regeneration of the city, create jobs and opportunities, and attract more visitors.

"The five-year transitional period will enable the council to safely return animals to their natural habitats in a carefully crafted phased approach."

However, there was criticism of the motion from rival political groups on the city council, as well as from trades unions and animal welfare bodies. Among the more than 600 animals kept at Belfast Zoo is a pride of Barbary Lions, which no longer exist in the wild.

Councillor George Dorrian of the DUP said that while he was concerned that the zoo was loss-making, it required more investment and the creation of a wider outdoor activity leisure park to enhance it.

"We cannot support this Sinn Fein proposal to, effectively, close the zoo. The statement by Sinn Fein is a gross misrepresentation, writing about 'caged animals', and lacks reality by proposing to 'return animals to their natural habitats'.

"It fails to recognise the important role of Belfast Zoo in education and in international breeding programmes for both indigenous and rare and endangered species."

A statement from The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, reported by ITV News, referred to Belfast Zoo's "impressive" record on conservation, and said that reintroducing the animals to the wild would result in "unavoidably high" mortality rates – perhaps up to 70 per cent. It added that the Sinn Fein plans showed "no understanding of these principles and outline no intention of engaging with experts in the field".

In response to these reactions, Councillor Maskey said: "This was never about closing the zoo, it was about properly investing in the site to ensure we are in keeping with a modern and ethical approach to the city and the animals and don't burden the ratepayer."

He added, however, that the party would discuss amending the motion before it is referred to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee later this month.
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NEWS
City council wrangles cause robust debate on Belfast Zoo's future
POSTED 10 Feb 2020 . BY Andy Knaggs
Belfast Zoo's three Barbary lions are part of a global collaborative breeding programme to ensure the survival of a species that is extinct in the wild Credit: Shutterstock
The future nature of Belfast Zoo is uncertain after a motion was tabled by a city councillor to phase out the display of caged animals and return the animals "to their natural habitats". However, the motion also envisaged transforming the zoo into a "world-class visitor attraction by 2025".

Councillor Conor Maskey of Sinn Fein put forward the motion at a Belfast City Council meeting held on Monday 3 February. It proposed that the zoo should instead become a conservation centre for indigenous animals and gave a commitment to secure all existing jobs.

Reported in the Belfast Telegraph, the statement went on: "The ratepayers of this city have to subsidise the zoo to the sum of £2.5m (US$3.2m, €3m) per year. The savings from the zoo site could provide substantial funding for the much-needed regeneration of the city, create jobs and opportunities, and attract more visitors.

"The five-year transitional period will enable the council to safely return animals to their natural habitats in a carefully crafted phased approach."

However, there was criticism of the motion from rival political groups on the city council, as well as from trades unions and animal welfare bodies. Among the more than 600 animals kept at Belfast Zoo is a pride of Barbary Lions, which no longer exist in the wild.

Councillor George Dorrian of the DUP said that while he was concerned that the zoo was loss-making, it required more investment and the creation of a wider outdoor activity leisure park to enhance it.

"We cannot support this Sinn Fein proposal to, effectively, close the zoo. The statement by Sinn Fein is a gross misrepresentation, writing about 'caged animals', and lacks reality by proposing to 'return animals to their natural habitats'.

"It fails to recognise the important role of Belfast Zoo in education and in international breeding programmes for both indigenous and rare and endangered species."

A statement from The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, reported by ITV News, referred to Belfast Zoo's "impressive" record on conservation, and said that reintroducing the animals to the wild would result in "unavoidably high" mortality rates – perhaps up to 70 per cent. It added that the Sinn Fein plans showed "no understanding of these principles and outline no intention of engaging with experts in the field".

In response to these reactions, Councillor Maskey said: "This was never about closing the zoo, it was about properly investing in the site to ensure we are in keeping with a modern and ethical approach to the city and the animals and don't burden the ratepayer."

He added, however, that the party would discuss amending the motion before it is referred to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee later this month.
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As part of Northern Ireland’s strategy to use Game of Thrones to boost tourism numbers in the country where the hit HBO show is mainly filmed, Tourism Ireland has created a frozen fountain and a life-size fire-breathing dragon at Belfast Zoo.
Belfast Zoo revamp begins


Construction has begun on a new £600,000 visitor centre at Belfast Zoo in Northern Ireland.
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A new US$550m (€509m, £426m) African-themed water park and resort from Kalahari Resorts & Conventions is due to open in Round Rock, Texas, in November 2020.
Northern Ireland's The Gobbins in line for £11m development
Plans for an £11m (US$14.2m, €13m) extension to The Gobbins, a famous cliff-face path at Islandmagee, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, have made significant progress, according to the local borough council.
London's V&A Museum of Childhood to close for two-year redevelopment
Creating an "unforgettable first museum experience for children" is the aim of the V&A Museum of Childhood in London, which has announced it will close in May 2020 to undergo a two-year, £13m (US$16.9m, €15.7m) transformation.
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Polin was founded in Istanbul in 1976. Polin has since grown into a leading company in the waterpa [more...]
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Global Solutions for Clothing creates award-winning costumes
Global Solutions for Clothing (GSC) is a multi-award winning costume specialist that has been creating high quality costume for more than 60 years. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

instantprint - Online Print Made Easy!
We're the only online printing company who really gets your business. Find out more...
More videos:
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+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

23-25 Mar 2020

MuseumNext Europe

Edinburgh Festival Hub, Edinburgh,
23-25 Mar 2020

Dubai Entertainment Amusement and Leisure Exhibition (DEAL)

Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+ More diary  
 


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Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

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