On Thanksgiving Monday the Bowmanville Zoo said thanks, to the remaining visitors to the park- however fleeting they may be.
October 10th officially ended the Zoo’s 97 years of existence, in Bowmanville, Ontario. The reasoning behind the closure is a major drop in attendance, that is likely caused because of a viral video (caution: graphic) of the whipping of the siberian tiger used in the movie Life of Pi.
After the video was released attendance to the zoo became a free fall that Tom Petty wouldn’t be able to put into words.
The man accused of the act is Michael Hackenberger, the owner of Bowmanville Zoo. Hackenberger has been charged with 5 counts of animal abuse by the OSPCA. The claims have yet to be proven in court.
The video was shot by a member of the animal rights group PETA. Jenni James is an attorney for PETA, and says this abuse was a warning sign that the ‘training’ of the handlers had been improper.
“This video shows it’s clear that not only Michael but every worker at the zoo…..haven’t been trained properly.”
James says that any time a zoo closes it’s a victory, but especially that the Bowmanville Zoo is no more, and there is only the public to thank.
“We have to thank the people in Canada for not taking animal abuse. After (the video) went viral people said ‘no’ and stopped supporting them and it led to the closure of the zoo, and we couldn’t be happier.”
The zoo was home to about 300 animals and the zoo has yet to relocate most of them. Jenni says there have been multiple offers from animal rehabilitation centres in the United States to take the animals off their hands but they declined.