Great news! The City of Surrey has informed the Vancouver Humane Society that in spite of news reports that the city is considering providing property at little or no cost to Cinemazoo and the Urban Safari Rescue Society for a new exotic animal zoo in Surrey, there have been no plans submitted for consideration. At this time, the concept has not been advanced as a formal proposal and even if it was, there would be a full public process before any decisions were made whether or not to support the plan.
We’ll keep you posted. Thank you for all your emails and support on this issue!
Zookeeper Gary Oliver, who has met with the City, has been keeping and renting out exotic animals like alligators and iguanas in the Lower Mainland for many years. He operates a business called Cinemazoo and claims to be concerned about conservation and habitat. Cinemazoo not only rents out animals to the entertainment industry, but takes exotic animals to private homes for birthday parties, as well as holding parties at the facility.
They also take exotics into classrooms referring to it as ‘education’, encouraging children to handle the animals. This only teaches children that animals are here for our entertainment. In 2004 and 2010 Oliver was investigated by the BC SPCA and the provincial Ministry of the Environment for concerns relating to the welfare of the animals in his care.
VHS is opposed to the keeping of exotic animals because it is impossible to provide them with a natural environment in which they can perform natural behaviours. Whether or not they were captive-bred, they have still evolved to a very specific set of environmental circumstances which is impossible to replicate in captivity. The Vancouver Humane Society contacted the City of Surrey to oppose the establishment of yet another zoo.