The owner of Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, which houses the UK’s largest collection of tigers, has spoken of his sadness after a zoo keeper was killed at another park.
Steve Nichols has formed a bond with the tigers he cares for at the park in Friskney, which is visited by thousands of people from around the county and further afield, and he has assured of the safety measures taken by the park.
Earlier this year, the park introduced its 11 new Bengal tigers to their state of the art enclosure, which Steve says has robust measures to ensure the safety of staff and visitors.
He said: “We made sure that our new facility for the tigers has gone absolutely above and beyond what the regulations say. Just to give people an idea, for one tiger to get from its bedroom to the outside pen there are six highly secure padlocked doors. My young granddaughter lives on the park site and there is not a chance in the million that I would allow something to happen. There is someone on site 24 hours a day.
“It is a tragedy what has happened. We do not know how it happened yet but it highlights for us any improvements to be made in protocol. It gives us an excuse to crack the whip even harder.
“You cannot get a much more dangerous animal than a tiger and we do everything we can to make sure everybody is safe on site.”
When asked if he thought the tiger that attacked zoo keeper Rosa King at Hamerton Zoo Park in Cambridgeshire, should be put down. He replied: “I sincerely hope not. The tiger is not to blame.”
Lincolnshire Wildlife Park was recently named Visitor Attraction of the Year and Steve regularly posts live videos of himself with the tigers on the park’s Facebook page.
He said: “I always video myself unpadlocking and re-padlocking the doors. People say ‘why do you always have to show that Steve?’ but I always do it. I say to the staff never close a door unless you can lock it.”