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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.
RELATED STORIES
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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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Eureka! reveals new designs for Eureka! Mersey – construction to begin in 2021
New concept designs and visuals have been released for the Eureka! Mersey project – a £11.75m children's visitor attraction being developed in Liverpool, UK.
Thermal project set to ‘redefine city wellbeing’ on track for 2023 opening
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COMPANY PROFILES
Painting With Light

By combining lighting, video, scenic and architectural elements, sound and special effects we tell s [more...]
Red Raion

Founded in 2014, Red Raion is the CGI studio specialized in media based attractions. [more...]
Simworx Ltd

The company was initially established in 1997. Terry Monkton and Andrew Roberts are the key stakeh [more...]
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We’re a Yorkshire-based online printer, founded in 2009 by Adam Carnell and James Kinsella. [more...]
+ More profiles  
VIDEO GALLERY

Animalive - Introducing AnimaChat!
Introducing AnimaChat, one operator can live-stream into multiple venues. Find out more...
More videos:
Experience the experience – Polin Waterparks & Pool Systems
+ More videos  

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DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

08 Oct 2020

VAC 2020 (The Annual National Conference of Visitor Attractions)

Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London, United Kingdom
17-23 Oct 2020

World Leisure Congress 2020

Pinggu, Beijing, China
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2020

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