Jersey Zoo updates sloth enclosure following criticism

Rio and Terry. Picture: Durrell. (36630524)

WORK is under way to ‘refresh the foliage, signage and lighting’ of the sloth enclosure at Jersey Zoo, a Durrell spokesperson has said.

Concerns have been raised by former Zoo employees about the ‘immersive’ sloth exhibit, made up of ropes, poles, an artificial tree and baskets, which is set in the stairwell area of the Andean bears’ enclosure.

Joya Ghose, who worked at the Zoo as an animal record keeper until 2019, said the sloths were being kept in inappropriate conditions and were too close to visitors.

Trustees subsequently put out a statement defending the organisation and its treatment of animals and staff.

The Island’s chief veterinary officer also visited the Zoo after these concerns were raised in the company of Durrell’s head of veterinary services and said she found ‘no reasons for concern in terms of animal welfare’.

Durrell’s chief executive Dr Lesley Dickie resigned earlier this month in the wake of criticism in the national media.

The conservation trust yesterday told the JEP that routine updates were being made to enclosures, including the one housing the sloths.

A spokesperson said: ‘We often adapt the enclosures that are home to the much-loved animals here at Jersey Zoo. Where possible, we try and make all of these updates outside of our busy visitor season.

‘Most recently this has included updating Tortoise Tunnel to give a variety of flooring types for our Aldabra tortoises, replacing the netting in our Kirindy Forest aviary and placing bark chip in our orangutan enclosure.

‘This week, we are making updates to Cloud Forest, which houses our bears, sloths and warty pigs. Work includes refreshing the foliage, signage and lighting.’

The updates are due to be completed by Friday.