27 Jul 2011

Legal bid over wildlife park animals' fate

6:53 pm on 27 July 2011

The mother of televison's Lion Man, Craig Busch, is launching legal action to try to stop the big cats at the Zion Wildlife Gardens being sold off or put down.

It was announced on Tuesday that receivers have been appointed to the Whangarei animal park, where a keeper was fatally mauled by a tiger in 2009.

A statement released by lawyers of Patricia Busch, the wildlife park's managing director, says if the receivers move in, some of the big cats will be sold overseas, some re-housed and the rest put down.

The statement says the park's income has been drastically reduced due to the stopping of wildlife encounters, the death of the keeper, and litigation between Mrs Busch, her son, and the companies connected with the facility.

Mrs Busch says her lawyers plan to apply for an injunction to save the animals.

Craig Busch founded the park, but was sacked as manager by Patricia Busch in 2008. Ms Busch took over his debts and the park when he ran into financial trouble.