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Muncaster passes zoo inspection

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MUNCASTER Castle has once again passed its official Zoo Licencing Inspection with flying colours.

The inspections, organised by Copeland Borough Council as part of its licencing process, closely check the welfare and standards of care of the resident birds of prey and wildlife at the Muncaster Hawk & Owl Centre.

A DEFRA (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs) approved vet visited the castle and its gardens in July and was on the lookout for any issues including the general wellbeing of the raptors which include hawks, owls and vultures, and the condition of the aviaries.

Staffing qualifications and training, and health and safety at the centre were also inspected.

The vet was impressed with the professionalism of the organisation which oversees the birds, with praise for their superb flying displays noting their educational value. The shows take place twice daily throughout the summer months at 11.30am and 2pm.

He recognised that the management has a positive approach and the staff appear highly enthusiastic and dedicated as well as commending the local involvement with wildlife conservation. The vet also praised the organisation’s conservation, education and research programme.

Copeland Council carries regular inspections of the centre, and a DEFRA-approved vet inspects every three years.

Peter Frost-Pennington, Director of Muncaster Hawk & Owl Centre, said: “We are so pleased to have received this official stamp of approval for our renewed and revitalised centreand glad that our good work at Muncaster, and further afield in conservation and education, has been recognised.

“This is a ringing endorsement for all our hardworking staff at Muncaster, but particularly for Head Falconer Stuart Lambourne and his expert team.”

Lena Hogg, Copeland’s Portfolio for Environmental Health, said: “Muncaster Castle is the one of the crown jewels in attracting tourists to Copeland. It offers a unique experience for visitors from all over the world, who flock in their thousands to see the birds and the castle.

“Copeland Council staff work together with Muncaster to ensure that it maintains the high standards set, through our informal annual inspections.

“The professionalism and running of the business is to be highly commended, we are very proud to have the attraction in our borough and reports such as these evidence how much of a credit they are to the area.”