Peta’s 1998 summer issue of ‘Animal Times’ profiled the problems at the zoo, naming it one of the worst roadside zoos in the country.
On August 14, 2013 I visited this zoo. The conditions at this zoo were sub-standard. The cages were barren, and many of the animals were housed alone.
The enclosures had an accumulation of feces and urine. The cages were barren without enrichment; the animals seemed extremely bored, pacing around in circles or pacing back and forth. I observed the animals pacing, circling, head bobbing, rocking, licking cage bars, coprophagia, and biting the bars of the cage. The snakes were living in enclosures with weeks worth of feces.
Animals had insufficient shelter from the weather. The camel. zebra, ponies, goats, emus, donkeys and the ostrich (missing a lot of feathers) had a metal structure that only had three sides . The pony structure was not large enough to fit all of them in it at the same time; this was their only coverage to escape the weather conditions. The turtle enclosure had shells from dead turtles.
The smaller animals had a plastic dog 'house' which I can only imagine that being in it, in the hot and humid North Carolina heat, was hotter than sitting in the sun. (Some of these dog houses were in direct sunlight)
There was hay for the goats and ponies, but I didn't see any food for the animals in their cages, ~ other then food for the rabbits and birds, which was placed on the floor of the bird cages and was covered in bird droppings. (Although I did see half eaten rotten pear in the prairie dogs enclosure)
The only animals I saw that had fresh water were the primates and a fennec fox; they had access to a water spout / hose. The other animals had rancid, stagnate water and it had a fowl odor, algae was noticeable. The water containers were also rusted and dirty.
I witnessed stereotypical behavior, pacing back and forth, and head bobbing. It gets extremely hot here in NC, the animals were overheated, and they were panting heavily. Many of the cages did not have covers on them, and the only choice the larger animals had was to stay in the hot sun, or retreat into a metal or concrete enclosure.
The brown bear named Booger, was constantly licking the bars of his concrete cage, panting heavily from the heat.
There is a 24 year old tiger named Sinbad, who has advanced arthritis, his back legs could not support his own weight, and he looked very thin. There are two black panthers housed together in a concrete enclosure (while I was there the two panthers were fighting, I have video of this) but all the other large animals are kept by themselves. The white tiger also seemed thin.
In my opinion, Tregembo zoo fails to meet the unique needs of the captive wild animals that they house and display, such as spacious and natural habitat, specialized diets, exercise, and opportunities to express natural behaviors, These animals are spending their lives in small barren cages, living on concrete or hard compacted dirt, and are denied the basic necessities of fresh food and water, shelter from the elements, and companionship. They have developed captivity-induced health problems and neurotic behaviors as a result of living in grossly sub-standard conditions. Many animals, such as poor Sinbad, have suffered in cramped cages for decades.
*** update ***
April 2014... I have just learnd that Sinbad the 24 year old tiger has died. He spent his life on concret, and I believe that contributed to the arthistis that gave him such pain for so many years. I do not know if Tregmebo zoo plans on replacing Sinbad with another tiger. I hope not.
Namaste sweet Sinbad.
Also, for those who are interested, there is a newly formed group here in the Wilmington NC area called, R.O.A.R. Reaching Out for Animal Rights, we have protested Tregembo Zoo and will continue to do so. Please join our Facebook group page... you do not have to live in the area to join... thank you. https://www.facebook.com/groups/213410132151895/