A few years ago we recommended that visitors to Cala Millor should not visit the Auto Safari Zoo between Cala Millor and Sa Coma. This was as a direct result of information received from the Bornfree Foundation which protects animal rights in the UK.
Here’s their email:
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The Born Free Foundation is an international wildlife charity working world wide to prevent animal suffering and protect endangered species in the wild. Zoo Check is the core programme of Born Free, and works to expose and prevent the physical and psychological suffering of captive animals, and campaigns to keep wildlife in the wild by raising greater awareness of these issues. We contact the relevant Governments and authorities, and seek similar organisations in order to address these issues more effectively.
Born Free receives more complaints about animal exploitation in Spain than in any other country. This is of course linked to Spain being such a popular holiday destination. However, the reports clearly indicate this is an area we need to focus on.
In the last couple of years Zoo Check has received numerous reports from holidaymakers returning home, distressed at seeing the conditions for the animals, the circus style show and the exploitation of young and adult big cats as photographic props at the Zoo Safari Mentz, Porto Cristo, Cala Millor. Zoo Check has received so many reports about this establishment that it is currently in Zoo Checks ‘Top 10’ most complained about animal ‘attractions’.
The 44 hectare safari park houses a wide range of animals, and although some of these have more space than in ‘traditional’ zoos, reports from visiting tourists describe the enclosures as barren, offering the animals little stimulation or shade from the sun. Those animals that are not housed in the ‘safari park’ area of the zoo are subject to much worse conditions, many being kept in tiny, concrete floored, ‘cell-like’ enclosures which lack any vegetation, shade or environmental enrichment. Rats are apparently frequently seen in the enclosures and many of the animals do not appear to even have access to fresh drinking water.
Many of the reports received suggest that a lot of the animals at Zoo Safari Mentz are in a poor state of health, underweight and covered in flies. Concerns have also been raised regarding the number of animals at the park which show abnormal, stereotypic behaviour.
Joining forces with colleagues at Spanish animal welfare organisations, ANDA & Depana, we have investigated conditions in zoos throughout different regions, and compared these to the requirements of the EU Directive on zoos. This law was introduced a few years ago to ensure higher standards in welfare and conservation. Spain should have complied with these standards by October 2004. Our research, however, has revealed this is far from the case – the law has not been implemented, and conditions in many zoos fall below the minimum requirements. These zoos should be shut down and the animals re-homed. This evidence was sent to the European Commission, together with information collected from the Regional Governments confirming the true number of zoos in Spain is actually not known, in the hope that Spain would be taken to European Court of Justice for non-compliance.
Following the investigations by InfoZoos the European Commission filed an infraction procedure against Spain for not complying with the requirements of the European Zoos Directive. More information and the results of our investigations can be found on the InfoZoos website at www.infozoos.org and also at http://www.bornfree.org.uk/
November 2013 – Follow Up
As it’s been some time since our last contact with the Bornfree Foundation I thought it would be a good time to follow up and check whether conditions at the zoo in Cala Millor had been improved. Sadly we were informed that:
From reports we still continue to receive from members of the public and those you can read on trip advisor there is still cause for concern regarding this zoo. We would not recommend that people visit this zoo or if they do it would be useful to send Born Free a report on what they have encountered with photos if possible.
The Born Free representative went to to say …
Through Born Free’s global initiative, Travellers’ Animal Alert, we receive many reports from members of the public concerning wild animals in captivity in zoos, circuses and dolphinaria or used as props for souvenir photographs.
The Born Free Foundation is contacted by many concerned members of the public following their visits to the Sa Coma Safari Zoo in Mallorca. There appear to be several areas of concern, including public safety during the safari train section, where tourists have reportedly been attacked or terrified by monkeys jumping into the train; the conditions for many of the animals in the zoo area is poor; and several big cats are used in a demeaning circus-style show.
A few years ago, concerns regarding the safety of some of the enclosures were highlighted following an inspection by the regional authority. Many of the cages were found to be falling apart and the big cat enclosures in particular needed improvements. The enclosures were rebuilt to a more sturdy construction; however, it is evident that little thought appears to have been given in terms of the long term welfare of the animals. There is clearly still much in the way of improvement to be made.
Born Free has joined forces with colleagues at Spanish animal welfare organisations, to form ‘InfoZoos’, and has investigated conditions in zoos throughout Spain and compared these to the requirements of the EU Directive on zoos. Spain should have complied with these standards by October 2004. Our research, however, has revealed this is far from the case – the law has often not been implemented, and conditions in many zoos fall below the minimum requirements. Born Free are continuing to apply pressure to the Spanish authorities and EU Commission to take action to apply the law and improve the conditions in zoos or close them. Born Free, in association with ENDCAP, has also undertaken an investigation called The EU Zoo Inquiry, evaluating the implementation and enforcement of the EC Directive 1999/22, relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos, throughout the EU. For further information please visit www.bornfree.org.uk/campaigns/zoo-check/zoos/eu-zoo-inquiry/. Further investigations into Spanish zoos are planned shortly.
If you are concerned about wild animals in captivity you have encountered, please report it to Born Free at http://www.bornfree.org.uk/campaigns/zoo-check/travellers-animal-alert.