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Zoo’s licence to thrill

Animal attraction sanctioned on condition it runs education initiatives

Malta’s Wildlife Park in Mtaħleb has just been given a zoo licence on the remit that it operates an educational and research programme.

Chris Borg, who runs the park, said the licence was only issued after the veterinary and agriculture departments ensured the animals’ pens adhered to international zoo standards.

Mr Borg applied for the licence after the planning authority finally regularised his position in February and sanctioned his set-up in the limits of Rabat.

It has been his dream to formally open up the park to the public and this has finally been realised after he had first homed the 380-kilogram Bengal tiger, Lentilka, at the top of a Mosta warehouse in 2009.

Four years on, the park has some 100 animals, from big cats, to lemurs, several primates and birds, as well as two other Bengal tigers, two lions, two pumas and two lynx.

The cubs were obtained from wildcats bred in captivity according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), and the paperwork satisfies criteria set by relevant EC regulations.

Mr Borg is also planning on bringing down two leopards and a brown bear from European zoos, once he extends the park.

He insisted the animals were well taken of, and apart from local resident vet Mireille Vella, he has also often brought foreign vets over to Malta to examine the big cats.

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