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Scarborough Sea Life Responds to Death Figures

Sealife Sanctuary CROP

Published by the Yorkshire Coast Radio News Team at 1:21pm 8th March 2018. (Updated at 2:00pm 8th March 2018)

Scarborough's Sea Life Centre says it takes its animal husbandry very seriously, after claims of a high number of deaths in 2016.

Figures given by Merlin Entertainments, which runs Sealife Centres across the UK, showed 965 deaths in Scarborough - equivalent to a third of the animal stock it holds.

But the company says the figure was wrongly compiled and is actually lower.

A Sea Life spokesperson said:

“Sea Life places the very highest priority on the welfare of the animals at its sites, which are supported by experienced animal care teams, marine biologists and world-renowned veterinary consultants.

Sea Life has a strong track record in animal husbandry and complies with all the laws and regulations under the Zoo Licencing Act.

Furthermore we take an active role in promoting conservation, playing a leading part in rescue and rehabilitation, breeding select species at our facilities and educating the many millions of visitors to our attractions.”

Jonathan Bramley, Scarborough Borough Council Environment and Regulation Manager, said:

“There is a requirement for Scarborough Sea Life Centre to submit annual stock levels to us as part of their licence conditions and these include mortality rates. The purpose of the information is to ensure compliance with Defra guidelines on stock reporting for modern zoo practice. Figures submitted to us in January 2016 related to the previous calendar year and tally with the figures currently being investigated.

Following the receipt of the figures, a joint inspection with a vet from Defra, the centre’s own appointed vet and our licensing officers, was carried out in March 2016. Vets address several aspects at an inspection, including animal welfare, safety, security, stocklist data and mortality rates, because different species have widely differing lifespans. The outcome of that inspection was a good report and the vets had no concerns about animal welfare.

We have this week been informed by Scarborough Sea Life Centre that there were discrepancies in the figures supplied to us. This does raise concerns, because incorrect stock figures, in effect, invalidate compliance with Defra guidelines. The centre is already reviewing its stock reporting process and we will be asking staff to make changes to how they report annual stock figures to us to help prevent problems occurring in the future.”


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