‘Britain’s worst zoo’ closes after multiple animal escapes and lynx shot dead

A zoo that has been named 'the worst in Britain' has been denied a license to stay in operation after a long history of animal escapes.

Borth Wild Animal Kingdom, trading as Animalarium, was banned from keeping large cats last summer after an escaped lynx was shot dead in a nearby caravan site.

This followed years of financial difficulties with the zoo, as well as multiple animal deaths and escapes, Gloucestershire Live reports.

In 2017, a report on the zoo, commissioned by the council, was launched following the escape of the Eurasian lynx.

In 2020, the council stated it had "lost confidence" in the zoo after three antelopes escaped.

Dean and Tracy Tweedy, owners of the Wild Animal Kingdom company, were ordered to make "urgent" changes to their zoo.

Further issues included overgrown bushes, pens which were too small for the animals and a kookaburra bird which sadly died due to long-term cancer.

The zoo has now been forced to rehome all its primates and antelope after the couple was denied a Dangerous Wild Animal Licence.

The Animalarium website states: "Unfortunately, due to licensing issues, the animal park is not open to the public at this time.

"We understand that this is a disappointing situation and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause."

In February, the company was taken to court over unpaid debts of more than £100,000 – meaning they were not able to hold a zoo license or anything similar.

Two months later, the Ceredigion council received an application for a Dangerous Wild Animal License by Mr and Mrs Tweedy, now owners of a new business known as 'Animalarium' at Borth.

This was declined after an inspection on May 12.

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The couple were then told they could no longer keep any dangerous wild animals at their zoo.

Mr and Mrs Tweedy were forced to remove the primates and horned antelope from the premises. All of the other dangerous animals had already been rehomed.

Cllr Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet member for finance and public protection, said: “The council is extremely grateful for the assistance and professionalism of Monkey World in rehoming all the apes and the Aspinall Foundation who previously rehomed two lions earlier this year.”

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Following the 2017 report on the dead lynxes, the council issued a ban on the zoo keep category one animals – but this was reversed in July 2018 following an appeal from the couple.

The reversal was subject to conditions being met, including having a member of a firearms team on duty every day in case an animal escaped.

However in January 2020, the zoo was served again with a notice to shut its dangerous animal enclosures because of inadequate firearm security.

The zoo agreed to surrender and rehome their category one animals in September 2020.

As a result of this, the couple's lions, lynx and other animals were relocated.

Dean and Tracy Tweedy have been asked to comment on the latest animal rehoming, but previously said they hoped to win their licence back.

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