7 Apr 2010

Wildlife park owners plead not guilty to safety charges

4:07 pm on 7 April 2010

The owners of the Zion Wildlife Gardens in Whangarei have pleaded not guilty to charges related to the death of a keeper.

Dalu Mncube was killed by a tiger as he cleaned out its cage in May last year.

The Department of Labour has laid charges under the Health and Safety in Employment Act against two companies involved in the wildlife park, Zion Wildlife Gardens and Zion Wildlife Services.

It contends they failed to ensure the safety of employees and failed to prevent a workplace hazard.

A lawyer for Zion told the Whangarei District Court on Wednesday his clients would defend the charges.

The Ministry of Agriculture ordered changes to the park's animal enclosures after Mr Mncube's death to allow the big cats to be shut off from their keepers.

The case is set down for a status hearing in June.