Inspectors praise zoo standards

COLCHESTER Zoo is celebrating after receiving a glowing endorsement from inspectors who have praised its excellent welfare standards and the high calibre of its staff.

By Sharon Asplin

COLCHESTER Zoo is celebrating after receiving a glowing endorsement from inspectors who have praised its excellent welfare standards and the high calibre of its staff.

Government inspectors were very impressed by the zoo's animal collection when they visited for the routine three-yearly inspection.

Last night curator Anthony Tropeano said: "Obviously we are absolutely delighted and hope this illustrates all the hard work that's gone into making the zoo a success and long may it continue.


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"We have always been very proud of our staff. The animal keeping department is absolutely second to none - they work hard and do a great job."

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs inspectors looked at a wide range of areas including the food and drink offered to different species, hygiene, the temperature, noise, lighting and ventilation in animal enclosures, health and wellbeing of animals and the zoo's conservation, education and research programme.

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Their report said: "The inspectors were much impressed with the quality of the animal collection and the provisions made for the welfare of that collection and the high calibre of the staff.

"The new additions and the plans for the future were of a very high standard.

"In particular, the inspectors were impressed with the pre-inspection audit material submitted, giving them an excellent picture of the zoo's operating principles and practices.

"During the inspection, it was apparent that great thought and enthusiasm was given to developing environmental enrichment techniques."

There was nothing negative reported in the 13-page document.

The zoo is given a six-year licence by Colchester Borough Council and the latest survey was carried out to meet the requirements of the three-year interim report.

Martin Nelson, the council's environmental health team leader, said: "In all honesty, the zoo has made great efforts and this is realised in the report. They have improved the size of enclosures and made environmental improvements. Since the current owners have had it there have been continual improvements and they have plans for more.

"As more land has become available they have increased the enclosures and changed the exhibits, making settings more befitting to the animals.

"They have a vision of where they want to be, they are not sitting back and letting things happen, they are driving it and all credit to them."

The Zoo Licensing Act requires the inspection and licensing of all zoos in Great Britain and ensures animals kept in enclosures are provided with suitable environments so they are able to express normal behaviour.

Since 1999 and the EC Zoos Directive the act also requires that zoos participate in conservation and education activities.

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