Zookeeper suspended for 'punching seal' at Bristol Zoo Gardens

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Zookeeper suspended for 'punching seal' at Bristol Zoo Gardens
Zookeeper suspended for 'punching seal' at Bristol Zoo Gardens

A zookeeper has been suspended for allegedly punching a seal during a weigh-in at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

The senior animal keeper is accused of attacking the South American fur seal, which comes from the same family as sea lions, when it reportedly refused to co-operate.

A source told The Sun: "The keepers were weighing the sea lions. The senior keeper had taken one off the scales and put the next sea lion on - but the junior keeper forgot to recalibrate the scales.

"As he went to take it off the sea lion then put its flipper on the scales and it is alleged the senior keeper hit it."

The head vet at the zoo examined all the seals, and they all remain on show at the popular tourist attraction.

According to the Mirror, a Bristol Zoo Gardens statement said: "A senior animal keeper at Bristol Zoo Gardens has been suspended pending further investigation of an alleged animal welfare incident that has recently come to light."

Sky News reports that it continued: "Michelle Barrows, head of veterinary services, has examined the seal family and all individuals are behaving normally, engaging happily and playfully with keepers and guests in their enclosure.

"The animal has been, and continues to be, on full public show."

A spokeswoman also told the BBC: "Bristol Zoo would like to make it very clear that it has a zero tolerance attitude towards such behaviour and takes its commitment to the highest standards of animal welfare and conservation seriously."

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