STAFF at South Lakes Safari Zoo are calling on the public to visit the attraction after inspectors gave it a clean bill of health since new bosses took over.

A team of three council-appointed inspectors, two of whom visited the zoo a year ago when the new company was first awarded a licence to run the attraction, carried out a comprehensive audit last month.

As well as looking at every aspect of the zoo, including a full day spent visiting all areas, talking to staff and observing visitors, the inspectors examined all the paperwork, feeding regimes and administrative processes.

When Cumbria Zoo Company was awarded its licence last May, bosses at Barrow Borough Council imposed a raft of strict conditions after an inspection in March 2017 found ‘obvious deficiencies in the accommodation, overcrowding and the lack of proper welfare and husbandry’.

But since the new company has taken over the reins from zoo founder David Gill huge changes have been made.

Animal numbers have been reduced, new safety measures implemented and the maintenance team has carried out countless changes to improve the visitor experience.

And, in a telling sign of endorsement, no new conditions are being imposed following the latest inspection.

New chief executive Karen Brewer, who took over the running of the zoo last May, said last month’s inspection was ‘nerve-wracking’.

“It was a year on since we took over and we’ve done an immense amount of work,” she said.

The zoo has also been subjected to a number of unannounced visits.

“Everybody who works here has welcomed them because it allows the public to see we are doing it right,” Mrs Brewer said.

“For us, getting this new inspection report is incredibly positive, because it means we are on the right track and we have their backing.”

Mrs Brewer said that ‘every single one’ of the staff wanted the best for the zoo, the town and for Cumbria.

After getting the backing from the inspectors, the zoo’s staff now want the public to see for themselves the changes which have been brought in.

Mrs Brewer said: “If we can get people in through the gates they can see for themselves what we have done and then they can see what kind of a place this is.”