26 Jul 2011

Receivers appointed at Whangarei animal park

7:01 pm on 26 July 2011

Receivers have been appointed to Zion Wildlife Gardens Ltd, the Whangarei animal park where a keeper was fatally mauled by a tiger in 2009.

PricewaterhouseCoopers released a brief statement on Tuesday afternoon.

The receivers say they are committed to doing the best they can for the welfare of the 36 animals at the park and are working closely with an independent zoo expert and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF).

Television's Lion Man Craig Busch founded the park, but was sacked as manager by his mother Patricia Busch in 2008.

Ms Busch took over his debts and the park when he ran into financial trouble.

In July this year, Zion Wildlife Service and Zion Wildlife Gardens pleaded guilty to charges relating to 2009 death and will be sentenced in August.

MAF closed the park temporarily after the fatality and ordered alterations to several big cat enclosures to improve safety.

Spokesperson Andrew Coleman, says no animal welfare problems were found during a recent audit of the facility and it is not yet clear what will happen to the animals.