We hear there will be some pretty fed-up felines prowling around Chessington World of Adventures tonight: no longer can they roam freely, just checking in to eat the odd wayward child, but are rather having to observe a general, er, purfew put in place by those miserable health and safety executives. Chessington World of Watered-Down Alternatives? Hm, doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? It would seem that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have decreed that the Asiatic lions, Sumatran tigers and other cuddly chappies should be kept behind a well-maintained fence. Spoilsports. They’ll be having us put warning signs on cups of hot coffee before you know it.
Honestly, this did seem to be the no-brainer news story of the day. What zoo worth its feeding buckets would allow standards of security at its big cat enclosures to be anything other than perfect? And is the public really paying a little man to go round telling zookeepers not to let their lions loose? So we rang the zoo and spoke to their very nice press lady there. Looks to us like a game of zoological Chinese whispers. The original report by Kingston Council nearly 18 months ago observed a few wobbly bits in the perimeter fence:
Contrary to recent comments, at no point were any visitors at any risk.
And they say they have also made big improvements to the general living environments in which they keep the animals. So that’s alright then.
We can stick this back on our Christmas wish list.
Wonderfully helpful lion emergency instructions from robonline’s Londonist flickr stream.