Dozens Gather for Anti-Zoo Protest in Ottawa

Dozens of protestors gathered outside Papanack Park Zoo on Sunday in an anti-zoo demonstration held exactly one week after the death of a male lion who was shot after escaping from his enclosure. The protesters gathered at the intersection of County Roads 17 and 19 in Wendover for one hour Sunday and demanded closure of all zoos as they held signs condemning captivity.

According to the organizer of the protest, Michelle Thorn, she was surprised to see the turnout. She highlighted that “the main goal is education and our main message is that animals do not belong in zoos at all, especially wild animals but even domestic animals.” The protest was called after a male lion, Zeus, was shot and killed for breaching what the zoo calls a “primary perimeter fence” even though the park was closed and no members of the public were on site at the time. The incident has ignited a new debate regarding weak regulations governing the more than 60 zoos in Ontario and whether or not wild animals should be kept at all.

The Papanak Zoo refrained from publically commenting on the issue but the co-owner of the zoo made a noticeable post on their Facebook page, calling the incident as a case of “human error.” Kerri Bayford stated that “the risk to the public of trying to sedate the lion was simply too high as the sedative takes too long too kick in and this would have put everyone at risk.”

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