Hidden-camera footage footage from Papanack Zoo, a roadside zoo outside Ottawa, reveals shocking conditions and animal cruelty.
Footage from the zoo shows:
- a zoo manager describing how he trained a baby lion cub by repeatedly beating the baby animal in the face;
- a baby cougar and fox stolen away from their mothers and used as selfie props for zoo visitors;
- a raccoon, skunk, and bobcat prodded and having their mouths forced open with cords in a photoshoot for the reality TV show Billy Goes North;
- animals performing stereotypic behaviour (which is often a sign of psychological distress), including a spider monkey, baby coyote, and several large cats;
- zoo management stating that several Père David deers (extinct in the wild) broke their necks and died after being chased by dogs and running into a fence.
Animal Justice filed a legal complaint. Papanack Zoo sparked public outrage in 2016 when the owners gunned down a Lion named Zeus after he escaped from his cage.
Ontario is the Roadside Zoo Capital of Canada
Ontario has become the roadside zoo capital of Canada, due to weak laws and inadequate enforcement. Ontario is the only province in the country where there is no license or permit required to open a zoo full of wild, exotic animals. As a result, the provincial government is powerless to shut down a zoo—no matter how bad the conditions may be.
How to Help Animals at Ontario’s Zoos
Federally, Animal Justice is working to promote Bill S-241, known as the Jane Goodall Act. The Bill would represent a tremendous step forward for exotic and wild animals by limiting the ability of individuals and most zoos to import, keep, or breed over 800 species of wild animals in captivity, including big cats, bears, many monkeys, wolves, sea lions, walruses, and dangerous reptiles like crocodiles and snakes.