Bowmanville Zoo Closes Its Doors for Final Time

Durham, ON, Canada / channel12

After nearly 100 years, the Bowmanville Zoo has closed its doors for good.  As Joe Scarpelli tells us, protesters were on hand up until the last minute.

An emotional day for employees of the Bowmanville Zoo as they come to work one final time.

“It’s emotional having to say goodbye…seeing them one last time.”

“It’s gone, it’s over and it’s very sad.”

An emotional day for visitors who are visiting North America’s oldest private zoo one last time.

“Just knowing that this is the last time you’re going to be able to do this is pretty sad.”

“It’s such a special place and has a whole bunch of memories and it shouldn’t be just tossed away.”

It was this video released by PETA that shows co owner Michael Hackenberger allegedly whipping a tiger that led to animal cruelty charges against him…and the beginning of a downward spiral for the  Zoo.

One supporter says while it may look cruel, being aggressive with some animals is just the way it is…like it or not.

“If you think it’s all about the way the Bambi Disney movie is and that’s how animals are, then you’re an idiot and that’s what I think most of the people outside are.”

After a social media campaign by PETA urging people to boycott the zoo, attendance dropped significantly, forcing the zoo to make the decision to close its doors for good.  Animal rights activists are calling this day a victory.

“Our philosophy is that zoo’s are obsolete.  They serve zero purpose.”

“These same people who are showing love and compassion to the animals in prisons behind us will go home tonight and sit down to a meal that consists of dead animals.”

The question now is what’s next for the animals? Staff say this week some of the creatures will be relocated to zoos in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  The rest will remain here until proper homes are found.

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