Tayto Park reveals 30 animals died at zoo
Tayto Park has revealed that 30 animals died at its zoo in one year after it had initially asked a Government department not to release the figures.
A park official wrote to the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht last year, objecting to the information being released and citing concerns over negative publicity.
But yesterday, the park released a statement, revealing that 30 animals died in 2016 out of a total population of 377 - a mortality rate of 7.9pc.
Among the animals that died were chickens, rabbits, pheasants, sheep, pygmy goats, partridges, a goose, a hawk, a meerkat and three pot-bellied pigs named Toot, Puddle and Pumbaa.
"Our beloved bald eagle Arnold battled myositis [muscle inflammation] with the best of care but very sadly he passed away," said the park.
"An infection saw us lose two of our much-loved goeldis and tamarin [types of monkey], but the round-the-clock care of our dedicated team of keepers and vets meant that we saved the remaining group," it added.
Tayto Park said the mortality rate of 7.9pc "was not related to any shortcomings in the care and husbandry that we provided".
It said that in the past, releasing figures on animal mortality rates at zoos in Ireland had "resulted in coverage which we believe was out of context" and that "there was no consideration given to natural lifespan, age, and biology when considering the death of an animal".
In 2014, Dublin Zoo reported a death rate among its animals of 8.72pc. In 2015, that figure was 13.4pc.