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Sun May 26, 2019, 02:39 PM

Calls for Canadian zoo to be shut down after deer die in stampede

Source: The Guardian

Calls for Canadian zoo to be shut down after deer die in stampede

Marineland in Ontario partly closes after a walrus and two deer die in recent weeks

Leyland Cecco in Toronto
Sun 26 May 2019 15.28 BST Last modified on Sun 26 May 2019 18.20 BST

A controversial theme park in Canada is facing renewed criticism following the deaths of three animals in recent weeks, triggering fresh calls from activists for the attraction to be shut down.

Officials at Marineland, which sits on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls in Ontario, said two deer were killed in a stampede allegedly caused by a father and son taunting the animals. The incident, which occurred last weekend when the attraction opened for the season, has prompted staff to temporarily close the deer park area.

Days after the stampede, the park also announced the results of a postmortem on one of its walruses which died in April, citing a heart attack as the cause of death for the 18-year-old animal named Apollo. Apollo is the fourth walrus to die in the park over the last two years, leaving it with only one remaining animal – a female called Smooshi.

Speaking of the deer deaths, Marineland said: “We are all upset by this terrible act against innocent animals. In order to protect our animals, we are closing the deer park to make modifications to prevent this type of incident from ever happening again.” It added that this was the first time such an incident had occurred.

But Phil Demers, a former animal trainer at the park who has become Marineland’s most vocal critic, rejected the park’s explanation, claiming that a move to reopen the deer park to visitors after years of closure could cause panic among the animals.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/26/calls-for-canadian-zoo-marineland-ontario-to-be-shut-down-after-deer-die-in-stampede

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