Animals escape from Alberta zoo; staff say holes cut in fences
Published Sunday, May 26, 2013 6:57PM EDT
RCMP are investigating after workers at a private zoo in Alberta say pen fences were deliberately damaged this weekend, allowing a number of exotic animals to escape.
According to GuZoo Animal Farm staff members, more than 11 holes were cut in pen fences sometime between late Saturday evening and early Sunday morning. A number of animals, including yaks, buffalo, Barbados Blackbelly sheep, coyotes, ostriches and a sika deer escaped.
Staff members say the perimeter fence of the family-owned zoo was not damaged and workers were able to corral the animals and return them to their enclosures.
Staff members alleged that animal activists may have been responsible for destroying the animal pens. But RCMP officers said there is no concrete evidence suggesting activists were involved in the vandalism.
Established in 1990, GuZoo is the largest private licensed wildlife park in North America and has a collection of more than 400 animals, according to the zoo’s website.
"Guzoo offers the public fun and safe hands on interactive experience with many exotic animals," reads a description of the zoo’s history. Visitors can help bottle feed baby tigers as well as interact with other baby exotic animals.
Since the zoo's establishment, there have been a number of attempts to shut down the wildlife park.
The Council of Concerned Albertans for Animal Welfare and Public Safety describes the animal park as a "roadside zoo."
"Animals are kept in barren enclosures with little regard to their natural environment. Intelligent primates, big cats, wild canines and other animals are kept in enclosures too small to allow them to run or achieve a full range of motion and are denied environmental enrichment, making their lives boring and redundant," reads a statement on the organization’s website.
A "Boycuott Guzoo" Facebook page that aims to “help raise awareness” has also been created. It has more than 1,000 "Likes."
With files from CTV Calgary