Wednesday, 01 June 2022 14:15

Jamaica Zoo Ordered Closed by NEPA

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Jamaica Zoo has been ordered closed by the National Environment and Planning Agency, NEPA.

In a statement a short while ago, NEPA advised that the Zoo has been ordered closed to the public effective June 1 2022 until the company complies with certain conditions cited in a Notice by the Agency.

Jamaica Zoo was served with a Notice of Intention to Suspend its Environmental Permit for the operation of a zoo at a meeting convened by the Agency’s CEO, Peter Knight, at its Head Office at 10 Caledonia Avenue Monday morning.

Also present at the meeting were representatives from the Veterinary Services Division, VSD, and the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, JSPCA.

Operator of Jamaica Zoo, Paul Fearon was represented by Bruce Patterson & Company, attorneys’ at-law and an environmental technical expert.

The Notice of Intention to Suspend identifies breaches of general condition 9 and specific conditions: 1, 7, 8, 12, 14, 15, 19, 29, 29, 42, 43, 48 and 52 of the environmental permit.

The specific nature of the breaches relates to failure to amongst other things:

Ensure that members of staff handling animals are properly trained;

Accounts for species held and/or filing related reports or notifications;

Submitting an animal nutrition and welfare programme; and

Engaging competent technical skill sets to assist with operations.

Director of the Legal and Enforcement Division at NEPA, Morjorn Wallock, outlined some of the immediate steps that Jamaica Zoo is required to take in this matter.

He says the company is required to engage competent technical skills to assist with the operations of the Zoo; the installation of satisfactory animal enclosures for the welfare of the animals and submission of animal nutrition and welfare programme, among others.

The closure follows a recent incident where a lion at the facility ripped off the finger of a man the Zoo described as a contractor.

The incident, which took place in full view of shocked patrons, occurred after the man repeatedly taunted the animal in an apparent effort to get it to roar.

The lion latched on to the finger of the man through a caged fence and after a struggle between them, it comes away with his finger.