INSPECTORS have welcomed “significant improvements” at South Lakes Safari Zoo following their most recent visit.

When Cumbria Zoo Company was awarded its licence last May licensing bosses at Barrow Borough Council imposed a raft of strict conditions after an inspection in March 2017 found “obvious deficiencies”.

The new company has introduced a raft of changes since taking over from founder David Gill who was judged by the authority to be responsible for the previous failings and animal welfare issues.

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

The full report from that inspection has now been published and in it the inspectors praise the new company for its running of the zoo.

“The inspectors were impressed with the very significant improvements made to the zoo over the past year and the evident improvements in staff morale and team working,” the report states. The team of inspectors, including experts appointed by the council and the government, highlighted the “excellent new vet team” and “ongoing reduction in animal numbers” as well as the confinement of free-ranging animals.

They concluded the zoo was being run “in an orderly fashion” and overall there had been a”marked improvement” in animal welfare. Chief executive Karen Brewer said: “The dedication, commitment and contribution from the Cumbria Zoo team has over the last 18 months been inspiring.”