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  1. ITV Report

South Lakes Zoo to remain open after 'overwhelming' public support

South Lakes Safari Zoo. Credit: Facebook

South Lakes Safari Zoo is to remain open, after an "overwhelming" amount of public support.

In December, management at the Zoo said it would be forced to close, because of what they called "constant harassment" by Barrow Borough Council.

The dispute centred on a council ruling that public walkways at the Zoo should be shut due to safety concerns.

But in a Facebook post, Zoo managers have now said that following more than 20,000 people signing an online petition to keep it open, they have had a further meeting with the Chief Executive of the council.

The petition. Credit: change.org

Following the meeting, which was described as "constructive" by the Zoo's management, they have pledged to remain open while the negotiations continue.

They have also said that as a major winter maintenance programme is now underway, and parts of the zoo are inaccessible, they are offering free entry in January 2016.

  • The full Facebook statement

We have been overwhelmed by the love and support that is out there for the zoo and what we bring to individuals and the community as a whole. The result of the 20+ thousand signatures on private petitions has led to a round table meeting between the Management of the Zoo and the Chief Executive of Barrow Borough Council.

In response to this very positive and constructive move and as a show of good faith the Zoo management has agreed to open throughout the negotiations.

Our major winter construction and maintenance programme is now underway and a number of areas of the zoo will be not available and disabled access will be restricted until the works are completed and because of this we have decided to open our gates for FREE in January 2016. Yes EVERYONE enters for FREE.

Very soon the zoo itself shall become a Charity and we need your support in every way possible to promote and expand our conservation breeding programmes in the Zoo and with our top class partners within EAZA and more importantly to expand our direct action projects all over the globe with critically endangered wildlife and habitats.

So please show your support in the best way you always do, come visit and drop some money in the buckets; have lunch; a coffee; feed the animals... take a ride on the trains or just wander around over 1000 animals! 10am to 4.30pm EVERYDAY."

– South Lakes Zoo Management

The Zoo will now be run by a charity - the Safari Zoo Nature Foundation.