Mother of tiger mauled zookeeper Fiona McClay speaks out

Sarah McClay, who died in 2013. Picture: contributed.
Sarah McClay, who died in 2013. Picture: contributed.
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The mother of a Scottish zookeeper mauled to death by a tiger at a wildlife park says it should be shut down.

Fiona McClay, fromn Linlithgow, was speaking as the owners of the zoo, where her daughter tragically died, were refused a new license to operate.

Her daughter Sarah was only 24 when she was killed at the South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, four years ago.

An application for the wildlife park, where 486 animals died between January 2013 and September 2016, to be granted a new license was unanimously refused by councillors in Barrow.

It is understood any closure is delayed if an appeal is made, which owner David Gill has 28 days to lodge.

Fiona said: “I think it should close, because this new company is formed by existing staff.

“It would seem nothing has changed there. I would hope the zoo would be closed to the public until things are sorted out.”

The animals that have died or been put down include two snow leopard cubs found partially eaten in their enclosure and a three-year-old white rhino that was crushed against a barrier.

Seven healthy lion cubs and five young baboons were also “euthanised” because there was not enough room for them.

The zoo was fined £297,500 and ordered to pay £150,000 prosecution costs over the next 10 years over health and safety breaches connected to the death of Ms McClay.

Inspectors said the post-mortem database, detailing the deaths of 486 animals showed “a clear picture of poor management with uncontrolled breeding and lack of any programme of preventative and curative veterinary medicine”.