The escape of a number of chimpanzees from their enclosure, and the recent incident involving a rare red panda, has prompted Workers Party representative Gemma Weir to call on Belfast City Council to hold public discussions about safety at the zoo and also to begin a conversation about its future.
” These were serious and potentially very dangerous incidents”, Gemma said.
“These episodes may be unusual but questions need to be asked about the resources available to the staff at Bellevue Zoo. Is this a question of under funding or staff cuts that are leading to these incidents or does the zoo need a major upgrade to its infrastructure?” Gemma asked
“I believe that the Council should call a series of public meetings to hear from council officials, take the views of zoo staff and allow the opinion of local people to be aired…. including a discussion about whether in the 21st Century it is appropriate to keep wild animals in captivity”, Gemma concluded .