Father banned for picking up lemur, goat and giant rabbit at Dudley Zoo
A man has been banned from Dudley Zoo after he was photographed picking up some of the animals during a visit.
The man was pictured handling a pygmy goat, a giant rabbit and a ring-tailed lemur, which is against the zoo's policy.
However the man claimed he was unaware of this policy and did not mean the animals harm.
The man said he was returning the goat after it got out of its enclosure, while he said the lemur jumped on his arm.
He added that he picked up the rabbit so his children could stroke it and did not harm it in any way.
Social media photos
A spokesman for Dudley Zoo said staff were horrified by the visitor’s actions and will be reviewing procedures for supervising the public in the wake of the incident.
It happened on Sunday while the man was visiting with his children and a friend, with some of the incidents believed to have happened in areas shut to the public.
Zoo director Derek Grove said the bosses were alerted to the incident after the man posted photographs on social media.
They have since been removed.
Mr Grove said: “We were notified by some of the individual’s friends to online posts on Sunday night and were horrified by his actions.
“At the earliest opportunity we wrote to him and have banned him from the zoo site and all staff have been made aware of the incident.
“Although our walkthrough areas are manned by keepers, we expect our visitors to show a level of acceptable conduct while on site.
“It appears these incidents took place out of view and even in some areas that were closed to the public at the time.
“We firmly believe that wherever possible allowing visitors to share the same space as the animals is hugely beneficial for both parties and we are disgusted that someone thinks this behaviour is acceptable towards animals, especially as it took place in front of children.
“However in light of this incident we will be reviewing the supervision of members of the public.
“The animals in question have been assessed by keepers and thankfully are physically unharmed.”
There are signs around the zoo informing people that they can only touch and feed the animals under staff supervision.
Nine months ago a snow leopard was shot dead at the Dudley-based attraction after escaping its enclosure.
The animal had escaped its enclosure after the zoo had closed to the public for the day on October 23.
Zoo bosses said there was no choice but to shoot the animal.
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