Response to recent press reports

Response to recent press reports from our Director of Conservation Christoph Schwitzer.

Here at Bristol Zoo we actively encourage natural animal behaviours and group dynamics. Our animals are also housed in natural enclosures, replicating environments they would be used to in the wild.  As a result, on rare occasions, despite our best efforts, we are not able to prevent unfortunate and unforeseen situations from occurring.

Female warty pig Manilla, arrived with us at the beginning of July last year. A male, Elvis, arrived with us in late August. The pair settled in well and voluntarily spent a lot of time together. In November, Manilla started showing some subtle changes to her behaviour and keepers alerted our in-house vet team.  She showed no physical signs of being pregnant and, as she had not been with a male between July and October, she was well outside the known birth window for this species.  Unfortunately, Manilla gave birth overnight and she and her piglet sustained fatal injuries from our male Elvis.

Had we have had reason to believe Manilla was pregnant; we would have separated the pair. Detecting pregnancy in warty pigs and many other wild animals can be very difficult as, unlike humans, they often don’t show obvious signs.  Furthermore, separating a pair of warty pigs can stress both individuals and we wanted to avoid this without just cause. This incident is a very unfortunate one and has been distressing for Zoo staff, particularly the animal teams who care for these animals day in day out.

In January 2015, a golden headed lion tamarin fell into the lake surrounding its island enclosure. The golden-headed lion tamarin floated towards the otter enclosure, due to a strong current on a wet and windy day. It was then taken in by a pair of otters. Our team of mammal keepers arrived at the location of the incident as soon as they could but unfortunately it was too late.

The lorikeet enclosure is checked twice daily. In between the morning and afternoon check, three lorikeets escaped. The enclosure was checked and a small hole, covered with vegetation, was fixed immediately.  Two of the birds have been safely returned but unfortunately one has not returned and we assume it has died due to the cold weather.

Our dedicated team of keepers and vets are committed to ensuring our animals receive the best care possible. Incidents such as these are distressing for the team and we are constantly seeking to improve.   

The Zoo is inspected regularly under the Zoo Licensing Act and adheres to the strict animal welfare and husbandry


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