The owner of South Lakes Wild Animal Park (SLWAP) in Cumbria, David Stanley Gill, along with the zoo itself, has been convicted of allowing an invasive bird species to escape, contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Sec. 14(1).
In July 2013 last year a Sacred Ibis had been sighted on the Cumbrian coast in the region of Dalton-in-Furness a number of times. An expert ornithologist working for Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) established it was the Sacred Ibis and the birds were originating from SLWAP.
The Sacred Ibis does not occur naturally in Great Britain, and if it was allowed to colonise it would pose a significant threat to the natural fauna of Britain. As such it is one of only a handful of species that the government has put an action plan in place to deal with if it does colonise.
The case was then picked up by officers from Cumbria Police and the NWCU, who with APHA, searched the zoo. During the visit officers found a large open enclosure housing just 27 Sacred Ibis, when the zoo’s records indicated that there should be 36. The officers also witnessed and filmed the birds flying out to the park.