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Belfast Zoo Statement

Date: 07 Jan 2019


The report details the deaths of three giraffes which occurred at Belfast Zoo in 2018.

A restricted paper is due to be presented at City Growth and Regeneration on Wednesday 9 January on this matter.

All the incidents were investigated by an independent vet, independent post-mortems were carried out and the deaths were reported to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) which has oversight of the Zoo Licence and carries out inspection under their animal husbandry and welfare remit.

The report provides assurance on animal welfare and husbandry practices at Belfast Zoo.

Two of the deaths of Rothschild giraffes were related to treatment under anaesthetic which is fairly high risk for giraffes. However, this is the first time since 1988 a death of this kind has occurred. The Zoo Vet has carried out 152 successful procedures since 1988. The third animal died after becoming tangled in a feeding basket that had been in use for 15 years without incident. This basket has since been adapted.

Animal welfare is of prime importance at Belfast Zoo which is why we are continuing to implement all lessons learned as a result of these three unfortunate incidents.

Zoo staff continue to work to ensure the welfare of all animals under their care.