Mother Still Waiting for an Apology After Daughter’s Tragic Zoo Accident

Image copyright Fiona McClay
Picture caption Sarah McClay had a fascination with the natural world.
The mother of a Scottish zookeeper attacked to death by a tiger at a zoo in Cumbria four years back says she is as yet to wait for a confession of guilt.

Fiona McClay’s little girl Sarah, 24, endured “unsurvivable” wounds when a Sumatran tiger strolled through an entryway that was intended to be bolted, and jumped on her in May 2013.

A year ago the zoo, now known as South Lakes Safari Zoo, confessed breaking health and security regulations.

It was discovered that a “self-locking gate” was inadequately kept up and failed.

The zoo, in Dalton-in-Furness, was fined 297,500 at Preston Crown Court for neglecting to guarantee the wellbeing of the staff. This month, councilors denied a permit application for the zoo after hearing that around 500 creatures had subsequently died there within a span of four years.

This is little encouragement to Fiona McClay who says she was offered no empathy or consideration over her girl’s needless passing.

“I have heard nothing from the zoo. Regardless I’ve heard nothing,” she revealed to BBC Radio Scotland.

“The main contact I’ve had with the proprietor of the zoo was at one of the preparatory hearings to the arraignment case brought by the committee, and he held an entryway open for me, similarly as anybody would do.”

There were no flowers from the zoo at Sarah’s memorial service. Her mom asserts there were even some questions about whether her work associates would be able to go.

Picture caption Padang, the tiger that killed Sarah, had been outside minutes before the assault.
Ms. McClay stays distraught about remarks made in the prompt repercussions of the catastrophe which appeared to suggest Sarah was at fault.

“I recollect the zoo proprietor expressing to the press that Sarah was in the wrong place and had additionally accomplished something incorrectly.

“That was difficult to apprehend. Every time I was offered authorization to view the police report that the proprietor had given, he was saying things in regards to a person I didn’t recognize.”

Fiona reminiscence how her little girl’s interest with natural life started at an early age. Family pets included walking sticks, hamsters, ferrets, rats and geckos.

“It was wild things – it wasn’t simply creatures. It was untamed life and nature and everything about that characteristic world that influenced her.”

She concentrated her studies in animal conservation and biology at the college. Her first occupations were low maintenance, as a veterinary attendant and advancing to preservation of red squirrels.


Picture caption Fiona McClay still uses a family snap taken at the animal grounds when Sarah was a kid on her Facebook page.

As a youngster she had gone to South Lakes Wild Animal Park, as it was then known.

When an occupation there came up, she grasped the opportunity to work all day with creatures.

“She was constantly first there and was constantly last to clear out. It wasn’t only a nine to five occupation,” said her mom.

At first working with birds, Sarah, initially from Glasgow, was soon given a part looking after the huge felines.

“She was so amped up for it since it was a more noteworthy duty.”

Her mom trusts she was content in her work – despite the fact that she had apprehensions about the way staff were dealt with and was researching the likelihood of setting up an exchange union.


Picture inscription The tiger strolled into the tiger house through an entryway that was intended to be bolted.

The day Sarah was gravely harmed she recalls the “horrendous” four-hour drive from Scotland to the doctor’s facility in Lancashire.

“I was revealing to myself the best that maybe she had been mangled somehow and had lost an appendage, something to that effect. I don’t think at any point it crossed my mind that she had passed away until I was really told.”

Fiona draws some small comfort from medical suggestion that her girl’s demise would have been fast.

The family requested the tiger, Padang, not to be put down at the time but rather he was euthanised due to his age a year ago.

The zoo’s proprietor, David Gill, no longer has any part in the running of the zoo. It stays open, operated by Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd, pending petition against receiving an operative permit.

Fiona McClay trusts the zoo ought to be shut for the present – in spite of the fact that maybe not, inconclusively.

Meanwhile, she lives with the memory of a youngster who had grown up to be a companion, sharing mysteries surprises – yet whose potential was stopped by one of the animals she adored.

“When individuals say when you lose a child, they lose a piece of their life, it’s totally valid.

“It’s not to state that consistently I’m in tears and that each minute I think about her; however there are times each day when I think ‘I ought to have expressed that to Sarah’.”

The BBC reached David Gill’s attorney about Fiona McClay’s remarks. He said his client was unwilling to offer any remarks on any matter linking with the zoo incident while the permit was under the legitimate and administrative process.

The present administrator of the zoo, Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd, issued the accompanying proclamation: “We have work to do, we know we do. A present day zoo ought to persistently endeavor to be better in everything it does.

“We are pushing hard to meet our objectives, without limitations to accomplish high standards for the creatures in our watch, over our staff and neighborhood group and we strive onward to gain Safari Zoo its place in the current zoo group. Your support is all the more essential at this point.”


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