Calgary

Private zoo fears for future after Guzoo shut down

Another small, private zoo owner in Central Alberta worries that the people who demanded the closure of Guzoo through Facebook will now turn their attention to his collection of animals.

Another small, private zoo owner in Central Alberta worries that the people who demanded the closure of Guzoo through Facebook will now turn their attention to his collection of animals.

Doug Bos has about 150 animals – both exotic and native – at the Discovery Wildlife Park in Innisfail.  

"As far as the animal activists goes, it's already stated on the social media that the Guzoo's gone … now Doug's next," he said. "The pressure that social media puts on the government …  I don't have a clue what's going to happen with that."

The province recently gave the Guzoo Animal Farm, which is near Three Hills, Alta., a week to shut down its facility  after government and independent inspectors concluded that the zoo is deficient "in all categories of zoo operations."

Guzoo features 400 animals including tigers, a New Guinea singing dog, lynx and a baboon. Photos posted on Facebook in March purported to show several animals living in squalid conditions.

Innisfail zoo offers to adopt Guzoo animals

The Calgary Zoo has offered to adopted  some of the Guzoo animals, and so has Bos. But like Calgary zoo officials, he wants a closer look at the animals before taking them on.

"It takes a lot of time and money to build enclosures for them, and to look after them, and to feed them, and have the extra staff to increase the inventory. So we'd have to look at it very carefully."

But Bos said the Guzoo's ageing lion won't find a home with him.

"I'll end up just probably having to put it to sleep within a year or so because 20 years old is very old for a lion. It's like a 90-year-old person."

Bos says Discovery Wildlife Park is inspected every three months and has always passed inspections. He has operated the small zoo for more than 20 years.

Bos said he acquired the exotic animals like jaguars, tigers and monkeys from defunct private zoos in Canada and the U.S., while many native animals were orphaned in the wild and brought to him to raise.

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