ZOO bosses were told to improve the security of enclosures following an inspection amid fears baboons could escape. 

Barrow Council said South Lakes Safari Zoo was failing to ensure the safety of animals after it carried out an annual inspection at the site earlier this year.

Urgent changes recommended by the council have been adhered to, zoo bosses say.

Joined by vets, the council visited the zoo to carry out an inspection, a requirement of the licence, at the end of February.

They found several issues including faults with fencing and security.

A report said: "The perimeter fence was not being maintained as undergrowth was beginning to grow up and over the fence causing the electric fence to short.

"It is proposed that a direction be made as the zoo licence holder had failed to comply with [a] licence condition.

"The perimeter fence adjacent to the house at the top of the zoo, poses a potential risk for someone to enter the zoo illegally.

"This has come about by the occupants of the house raising the ground level within the garden presumably in order to provide a better unrestricted view of the zoo.

"There is also potential for the occupants to make contact with the electric fence."

Concerns were also raised that baboon electric fencing was 'loose and shorting on plants'.

"This may lead to baboons escaping," the report said.

Fears were also raised of rats at the zoo.

"A rodent was noted leaving the anteaters' accommodation and there is considerable evidence of rodents in other areas of the zoo," the report said.

A report from the inspection is due to be presented to the council's licensing committee next Thursday.

The Cumbria Zoo Company has responded to points raised by the council and says they have been rectified. 

On the baboon fencing, zoo bosses said: "Our maintenance manager jumped in there was a loose tensioning wheel that he re-tensioned.

"The daily fence reading taken by keepers in a morning and minimum reads checked prior to animals being allowed out into the paddock ensure the fence is operational and reading correctly, these readings are recorded on their daily observational sheets and transferred onto the online ZIMS animal information system."

Bosses said the zoo employed three pest control staff who had daily rounds and are trained in 'baiting, shooting and dealing with issues'.

A zoo spokesman said: "The inspection in March was another good inspection showing the progress the zoo continues to make and recognized the ongoing good veterinary care and welfare of the animals.  

"All our fences are read twice a day and recorded and animals are kept in whilst the issue resolved if those reads are below safety minimums. 

"As with anyone who uses electric fences knows, anything touching - bit of grass, twig, can cause a 'clicking' which potentially could mean the fence isn’t working to its absolute fullest.

"It does, however, still work.

"On the day of the inspection the inspectors found clicking on the perimeter and baboon fence - on the baboon fence a tensioning wheel had come slightly loose and the perimeter a growth of ivy was touching slightly.

"The zoo has one of the best perimeter fences in place, and our own safety protocols mean no animals would be out in paddocks if the fence readings were at an unsafe level."