An animal rights group is now calling for a small Upstate zoo’s license to be revoked after 28 animals died in a fire last week.
28 animals died after a fire at Hollywild Animal Park in Wellford on Friday. Officials said the 14 survivors included: five tortoises, one wallaroo, two baboons, one dog, two wolf hybrid puppies, one ring-tailed lemur, and a pair of one-year-old bear cubs.
Holly Springs Fire District chief Brent Blackwell said the fire started with an electrical short in a lights wire at the Primate Barn and went up into the ceiling of the metal building where they stored the animals. The fire went across the ceiling of the barn, but never burned the outside. Blackwell said the animals died from smoke inhalation. It is being ruled as an accident at this time.
Hollywild officials said an animal care staff member found smoke in the barn when he arrived to work at 8:30 a.m. Park officials said he immediately called for help and opened the doors to improve ventilation. The following animals lost their lives: two capuchins, four chimpanzees, two baboons, seven lemurs, two mangabeys, one bear cub, one African crowned crane, three tortoises, four wolf hybrid puppies and one barn cat.
Now the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling on authorities to take action and strip Hollywild of its license. “Hollywild has an abysmal record of animal care and has been on our radar for decades,” PETA’s Deputy Director for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates zoos in the United States.
“The facility was cited for several Animal Welfare Act violations in July after a PETA complaint.” Peet said. The zoo is not accredited by the American Zoo Association, as Greenville Zoo and Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia are. But the strict AZA requirements are not required for a zoo to receive a USDA license.
PETA also wants Hollywild to give up the three primates which survived the fire to preserves it considers more trustworthy. “PETA is calling on Hollywild to do the right thing, and to allow at least the three surviving primates, that’s two baboons and one endangered ring-tailed lemur to be retired to reputable sanctuaries.” Peet said. She said PETA would be willing to pay for the transfer, if needed.