Animal rights advocates are calling for changes in how zoo owners lease out the parks after British ravers went wild at Prince William’s favorite zoo, taunting the gorillas and scaring young families.
The clubbers threw items into enclosures and at the animals during the three-day rave, the Captive Animals’ Protection Society said.
Aspinall Foundation, which owns the zoo, says the money from the festivals is used for conservation efforts, so they won’t want to stop the private parties.
“We have held nine festivals on this site over six years which has allowed us to observe our animals’ behaviour during these events. The welfare of our animals has always been the overriding priority.”
The latest rave, held two weeks ago at the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent, was held in a large area 500 yards from the zoo’s entrance, but tickets included free access to the zoo for the rave-goers. And since many people who go to raves enjoy the flashing lights and dancing while on drugs, the animals weren’t the only wild creatures at the zoo that weekend.
In addition, in August, the zoo was rented out to the Hevy Festival, a weekend featuring punk, heavy metal and rock bands — hardly a relaxing atmosphere for the many rare animals kept there. The Hevy Festival was just two months after Prince William visited the zoo to back its rare black rhino program.
At the rave, called “Zoo Project,” clubbers in animal costumes were told to release their “inner wild” by dancing until 2 a.m. and then heading to the zoo during the day.
But the ravers, well, raved inside the zoo too. Investigators filmed one group inhaling nitrous oxide laughing gas balloons and others tormenting gorillas by rattling their cages with sticks and making ape noises. At one point, a gorilla even charged at the cage bar trying to scare away the partiers.
And three guys — obviously not quite understanding what happens to idiots who leap into animal enclosures — were hanging out in a restricted area near the gorillas’ open air paddock and talking about “shaking hands” with them.
As a result, the CAPS and the Born Free Foundation want the animals to be protected from crazy ravers and others who would harm them through strengthening Britain’s Zoo Licensing Act.
Might just be easier, though, to let the nuts get inside the cages and let the animals take care of the punks themselves.