the prefecture should demand the rapid evacuation of the animals

The Tarn prefecture would have given notice to the 3 Valleys zoo to evacuate all wolves within eight days. The security of the enclosures would not be guaranteed there. The owner refuses to submit to it. This park has been closed for five months after four escaped wolves were killed.

The 3 Vallées zoo located in Montredon-Labessonié in the Tarn should not reopen soon. The park has been closed since the end of December 2021 on the advice of the prefect. for breach of safety rules. According to the owner of the park, the state veterinary services have just issued an unfavorable opinion on its reopening.

On December 19, 2021, while the zoo was open to visitors, a pack of nine wolves escaped from their enclosure, causing public panic. After evacuation of the site, four animals were slaughtered by the owner himself while the other five were anesthetized with a hypodermic rifle.

Following this incident, the park had to carry out work to secure the wolf enclosures, the only condition for reopening the site. But after an inspection carried out on March 23, 2022, the State services would have concluded with an unfavorable opinion. The security of the enclosures would still not be ensured. The prefecture would therefore demand the evacuation of all wolves within eight days.

The owner of the zoo refuses this decision, judging the deadline too short.

It is not reasonable to demand an evacuation on Friday for the following Thursday. Especially since we have done the work. A temporary enclosure was secured a month after the incident with an electric fence, a double fence and high metal sheets to prevent the wolves from climbing.

Sauveur Ferrara, owner of the 3 Valleys zoo

Sauveur Ferrara recognizes that the final enclosure which must accommodate a male and two female gray wolves is not finalized. “The 3/4 are finished. But these wolves can absolutely stay in the first enclosure that we have secured in the meantime.”

The owner believes that this decision would be even more traumatic for these already psychologically fragile animals.

He sent this Wednesday, April 20, an end of inadmissibility to the services of the Tarn prefecture, specifying in his letter that it was “an excess of power”.

The financial situation of this zoo is becoming untenable. The structure absorbs 100,000 euros per month in operating costs for animal feed, maintenance of the premises and team salaries. But without a visitor for months and after two years of Covid, the park’s finances are at an all-time low.

I draw on my personal reserves. You imagine ! I put everything into this adventure. I will fight, I refuse to touch these animals.

For almost ten years, the life of the park has been punctuated by security incidents.

  • In October 2013, a caracal escaped from its enclosure and the 300 visitors present were evacuated. The feline will be found 3 days later. If the incident made it possible to review the security of the fences, nearly a month after this escape, the animal park remains closed to the public at the request of the Tarn prefecture.
  • In March 2014, a little girl was bitten by a lynx whose cage was open. Slightly injured, the 4-year-old girl was taken to hospital in Castres. The parents file a complaint.
  • August 16, 2015, a fire destroyed 7 mobile homes that housed zoo staff.
  • April 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, the park management appealed for state assistance. An online kitty is open.
  • Following an alert on animal health conditions launched by Corinne Vignon, MP for Haute-Garonne, Barbara Pompili, then Minister for Ecological Transition, asked the Tarn prefecture to permanently close the zoo.
  • On October 23, 2020, by prefectural decree, the zoo was forced to close its doors. A closure which follows malfunctions noted during inspections carried out by the veterinary services. This administrative decision implies that the hundreds of animals are moved to other parks. The zoo management has one month to make the transfers.
  • On November 2, 2020, the Administrative Court of Toulouse suspended the prefectural decree. The owner, Sauveur Ferrara wishes to review the security of his site.
  • On November 7, 2020, the prefecture gave the operator formal notice and prescribed adjustments to all the non-compliance elements noted during previous inspections.
  • At the end of 2021, faced with dangerous behavior, four wolves were shot by park staff after escaping from their enclosure, while the public was present on the site. For security reasons, visitors will be evacuated. Five other wolves will be anesthetized and transferred to a secure enclosure. Safety work is ordered by the prefecture and the zoo closed until further notice for breach of safety rules.
  • The animal park has been closed since December 23, 2021, pending compliance work, for the second time in a year.

The latest incident dates from April 2022 and concerns a new “fugue”. A kinkajou, a small mammal from America, managed to escape from the park to find himself on the roof of a neighboring house. The animal was captured a few hours later.

Asked by France 3 Occitanie about this new escape, the owner of the premises minimized the event.

In all zoos in France there are incidents of this type with small animals. It’s very regular.

Sauveur Ferrara, owner of the 3 Valleys zoo

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