Borth zoo owners reveal threats after lynx deaths

Tracy and Dean Tweedy
Image caption Tracy and Dean Tweedy said they were "devastated" by the loss of lynx Lilleth and Nilly

The owners of a zoo have said they received death threats after two of their lynx were killed just days apart.

Animal-lovers Tracy and Dean Tweedy bought Borth Wild Animal Kingdom near Aberystwyth in 2017.

But when one of its lynx died due to a handling error, and a second was shot dead after escaping, their "dream" swiftly turned into a drama.

Mr Tweedy said: "We went through some really tough times. Social media was the worst with all the threats."

He added: "It was tough when you read your name across the papers and social media.

"Zoos are a passionate subject, some people are very anti-zoo and we got the backlash of that.

"The criticism seemed to be everywhere and the phone would ring through the night with people giving abuse.

"We got to the point where we had to take the phone off the hook."

Image copyright Borth Wild Animal Kingdom
Image caption Lilleth evaded traps put out to catch her after her escape and was shot dead by a marksman

Wildlife broadcaster Iolo Williams and TV presenter Ben Fogle joined the criticism of the zoo while Ceredigion council threatened closure.

They were served with 128 demands in order to keep animals, that included lions, snakes, a crocodile and a leopard.

It was the most court-ordered conditions imposed on any zoo in the UK - earning Borth the reputation of 'Britain's worst zoo'.

"We couldn't really argue with that title, but we had only just taken over," said Mr Tweedy.

"We have now completely revamped the site."

Now open, renovated and celebrating the recent birth of a baby lemur, the couple insist they have no regrets taking over the dilapidated zoo.

Mrs Tweedy said: "For all the horrible stuff, there have been so many amazing things."

Saving Britain's Worst Zoo is on BBC One Wales at 22:35 on Thursday, 25 July.

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