Lions Stressed Out at Bristol Zoo’s ‘Adults Only’ Late Night Parties

Posted by 5 months ago | Permalink | Comments (81)

Animals have been filmed frantically pacing back and forth at events featuring large crowds, alcohol, and live music.


The footage was filmed by an activist from Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) at Bristol Zoo on Friday, 29 July, and shows that lions exhibited stereotypic behaviour, an indication of frustration or distress in captive animals.

When the activist asked a zoo worker why the lions were behaving in this way, she was told this:

Because there is so much going on that is unusual for them. Obviously normally there’s not music, normally there’s not people here at 10 o’clock at night, it does stress them out a bit … it can be a trigger to stress.

The fact that zoo staff appear to be aware of the distress that these types of events cause animals yet the zoo still holds them is shocking. It’s clear that zoos are more concerned with making money than safeguarding the well-being of the animals they’re supposed to be looking after.

Big cats kept in captivity already lead a sad, deeply unnatural existence, in which every aspect of their lives is controlled by humans and they are exposed to a constant stream of gawping visitors. Late night parties add insult to injury by denying these animals the few hours’ respite they would usually get after the zoo closes.

A similar series of events at London Zoo attracted criticism a few years ago, following allegations that one partygoer poured beer over a tiger and another stripped off and tried to enter the penguin enclosure.

It’s obvious to anyone with common sense that alcohol-fuelled parties and wild animals don’t mix. Tell Bristol Zoo to cancel these absurd events, and please stay away from all tourist attractions that exploit animals for profit.



  • Geraldine McCrossan commented on August 16, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    This late night party thing at Bristol zoo defies belief. Total lack of respect for the animals whose only chance to recover from a day exposed to the public is after closing hours. The video of a lion pacing is distressing and the fact that a staff member shrugged it off adds insult to injury.
    To Bristol Zoo: PLEASE, no more of the same.

    • Jean eckett commented on August 16, 2016 at 3:40 pm

      This is disgusting, I understand zoos need to make money . These animals need to be cared for, but late night parties definitely NO, to stressful for animals, there wellbeing must come first

      • Rach commented on August 28, 2016 at 10:23 pm

        zoos WANT to make money*. Yes, i totally agree with you, we wouldnt lock children up in glass boxes for entertainment? Thats barbaric!!! 🙁 No more zoos!!!

    • victoria pryke commented on August 16, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      i have just watched the clip of a party going on at your zoo ,i wouldnt have beleived it if someone told me that went on ,but i have seen it with my owe two eyes you should be ashamed of your selfs ,they are animals how would you like to be put in a cage and have people pay to look at you ,oh no they wouldnt cause your not worth looking at ,it brakes my heart to see them caged and i cant see why anybody would want to take there children to look at something so sad in a cage ,you are not nice people and you do it for money ,sad from vicky .

    • Paula T commented on August 22, 2016 at 6:15 am

      Zoo’s are supposed to be a safe place for Animals!!!!
      Apparently NOT!!!!!!
      this is not RIGHT!!!!!

    • jackie montgomery commented on August 28, 2016 at 10:23 am

      This is disgusting. all zoos should be closed down there is no need for them this proves that zoos are just another using animals to make money for humans facility. The
      animals should be moved to a wildlife sanctuary which is closer to their original habitat but even those should be strictly controlled so this sort of thing is not allowed to happen.. Humans should be taught from childhood (and many are) to have proper respect and regard for animals. Put it on the school curriculum

    • Sirpa Reinikainen commented on August 31, 2016 at 12:41 pm

      The welfare of poor animals kept as prisons in gages should be protected by the law and some respect and care for the animals. This kind of abuse of the animals by the Zoo can not be understood. Stupid people can have their parties elswhere. This is shameful from the Zoo and those selfish people having parties and disturbing poor animals. Zoos should be made illegal as abusive and cruel places but at least they should be peaceful before that.

    • Sue commented on September 1, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      Complete disregard for any living species. Only interested in making money out of nerds getting out of their heads on chemical poisons.

      This is bound to end in some tragedy whereby a drunk gets injured/killed by an animal, and we all know what the outcome will be…The innocent animal will be “culled”.
      The only purpose this serves is maybe identifying the misconception of what Zoo’s really are – Captive Hell Holes, where anything can go on so long as it makes money.
      Why can’t these people try earning a living that doesn’t exploit other living creatures?

    • Michelle Hatcher commented on September 3, 2016 at 7:31 am

      Zoos, Circuses – the lot should be banned. We’re in the 21st Century and it is truly sickening how we treat our animals.

      Mixing Booze and Wild Animals – REALLY!!!

      I complained to Bristol Zoo many years ago about Wendy the Elephant being chained up and stood in the same spot all day.

      When I challenged her keeper he said how happy she was to be stood there as she had been doing it all her life. I told him about what an elephants life should be like, roaming free being a particular part of it not stood chained on concrete all day.

      The look in Wendy’s eyes was utter sadness, an elephant alone trapped by man in a Bristol zoo.

      I left the zoo very upset and vowed never to go again. I support conservation but not entrapment.

      What are we teaching the next generation by this behavior?

      Could we undertake a behavioural experiment? Get the Zoo owners and animal keepers, cage them and deprive them of sleep for three nights, have people jeer at them all day, then play loud music, shout at them and see how they feel, ask them what they really need…..I wonder what their responses would be …. The point is, as trained animal keepers The Zoo Owners and Staff already know the impact on these animals and should not have allowed this madness in the first place.

      Bristol Zoo you are an utter disgrace in this new money making venture of yours.

    • Janice commented on September 3, 2016 at 9:55 pm

      I agree, these poor animals are already being contained in cages and exposed to the public all day without the zoo making money with these unnecessary late night parties. Its obvious the people going to these events are going to be intoxicated and antagonising these animals. How do we contact the zoo to stop this? I cant find a link. Thanks.

    • Carol. Hallam commented on October 17, 2016 at 7:55 am

      We thought zoos were getting much better but again we’ve been let down we always go to Bristol just after Christmas but hearing about these parties have changed my mind for this year so disappointed in Bristol zoo

  • Katie Harkins commented on August 16, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    It’s bad enough these animals are in a zoo but now you are adding to their anxiety for your own profit. This is outrageous and you need to stop these acts of cruelty by stopping these events and taking in consideration that this is the animals home.

  • moy mcgowan commented on August 16, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Please show compassion and respect to the creatures in your care. Thank you.

  • Micheline Barker commented on August 16, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Bristol zoo please stop it !

  • Marcia commented on August 16, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Zoos are very outdated they need to rehome these animals into wild life parks where they get much more freedom and at least a bit better life. Been to Bristol zoo far to small enclosures, it’s disgusting place needs to close. If staff don’t care about stressing out the CAGED animals they shouldn’t be working there. CLOSE ALL ZOOs. They don’t help in animal conservation.

  • Carole Dennis commented on August 16, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    This is an absolute disgrace and I am appalled that Bristol Zoo permits visitors – drunk or sober at this hour. Obviously you do not have the animals welfare in mind but your swelling coffers. People should boycott the zoo as it isn’t in the interests of animal welfare and conservation.

  • Sandra Strathie commented on August 16, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    I will never visit or support a zoo that treats animals this way. You are being watched Bristol zoo by many.

    • Karen Haywood commented on August 17, 2016 at 10:25 am

      I’m in total agreement with all the comments made here. I’ve never visited Bristol Zoo and never will and think all old fashioned zoos should be closed.

      • Lizzie Tann commented on August 17, 2016 at 10:12 pm

        This is outrageous yet again making a profit from animal misery. Please boycott Bristol Zoo. The animals must really be stressed it makes me ashamed to be a human being

  • John antrobus commented on August 16, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Haveing just seen the film you disgust me that you let this King of thing go on in the grounds the staff can see what it’s doing to the animals and yet they stand there doing nothing,load music beer flowing free you need to look what’s more important the animals or the load music and piss heads hew attention this kind of thing haveing seen this I will deter any one from going to your zoo you disgust me..

  • Jennifer Wright commented on August 16, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Absolutely appalling!! I cannot believe a Zoo in this day and age would allow this. However, after my last visit to Bristol Zoo some 35 years ago and saw the mental state of the Polar Bears , I vowed NEVER to visit a zoo ever again and I haven’t.

  • Carolyn J Vogel commented on August 16, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Let these poor animals alone & in peace.

  • Judith Trunks commented on August 16, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    How terrible to stress these poor captive lions in this way, parties should not be held in zoos .

  • Linda commented on August 16, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    I was outraged and incensed to see an article and video footage of animals in severe distress at Bristol zoo. What are they thinking of, hosting parties at the zoo?? It is sheer ignorance and insensitivity to the animals in their care. Anyone with an ounce of sense would see this would be distressing to animals. Why don’t they host the parties in a children’s home or crèche!? I’m sure they’d be incensed at the suggestion saying that would be inhumane. But as far as I am concerned it amounts to the same thing.

  • Dell hassell commented on August 16, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    I thought that people in charge of Zoos, were responsible , intelligent and caring people.another disappointment.

  • Samantha James commented on August 16, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    OMG!!! This is supposed to be a zoo where the animals are first priority and are well cared for. IT IS NOT A NIGHT CLUB!!!!! IF PEOPLE WANT BOOZE AND LOUD MUSIC GO TO A NIGHTCLUB!!!!!! What on earth is Bristol zoo thinking!!!

  • Jennifer Lane commented on August 16, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    I can only compare it to living with an unbearably noisy next-door-neighbour. These animals are not captive by choice and it is just not fair to subject them to this kind of racket – they have enough of it during the daytime I imagine. Give them some peace and quiet for goodness sake and make people party elsewhere.

  • Ben Scarr commented on August 16, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    I’ve just seen a video on one of your parties.

    I’m saddened and disgusted your Zoo has no respect for the emotional well being of your captive Lions (and most likely other animals). Animals dislike loud music and drunken behaviour. These animals are on show to the public 6-7 days a week for hours and hours a day,, they need rest more than anyone. Have some respect for these Lions, and stop these parties so they can have their peace and quite back.

  • lorraine gordon commented on August 16, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    This is disgusting it’s bad enough they’re in captivity without being subjected to drunks this should be stopped immediately

  • Maureen Martin commented on August 16, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    This has to stop.

  • Diana Ferguson commented on August 16, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Come on Bristol Zoo. How on earth is this in the welfare of the animals that you are supposed to be protecting ! Please stop this late night partying at what is, in effect, their home. This stress they don’t need !!

  • Jacqueline Hilton commented on August 16, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    This is appalling to be putting animals through this! I was upset at many things at SeaWorld and one of the things I could not comprehend was the animals being subjected to loud music, laser lights and fireworks daily as well as the more obvious cruelty of their captivity. This should not be allowed to continue!

  • Trudi Greenham commented on August 16, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    It’s ridiculous, anywhere animals are kept is not a place to hold parties. If they know it causes stress…why do they hold them?…purely for money…with no thought for the animals welfare. Should be stopped.

  • Nora Dempsey commented on August 16, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    What sort of animal careers who purport to love animals, that’s why they sa they do the job, can possibly think this is acceptable? I find it beyond words. The necessity for zoos is bad enough so surely if zoos are to be continued at least give the animals in your care a decent life and try to cut down the stress they are under already. People who go to late parties at a zoo don’t give a damn about animals. Stop this cruelty now

  • Julie port commented on August 16, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Please put an end to these adult night parties at zoos. There are plenty of night clubs for them to go to.
    thank you

  • tanya schneider commented on August 16, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Shame on Bristol zoo!!! Boycotts, protests and petitions need to be enforced! !!!

  • Rosa commented on August 16, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Beyond me why they considered this in the first place, does the Zoo not have any brains, it is bad enough being caged up with all that racket going on and nowhere to hide, Please stop these ridiculous parties near the animals

  • Sheila MacFarlane commented on August 16, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Thats not what zoos are for. Its abuse !

  • Sandra COLCHESTER-STONE commented on August 16, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Money shouldn’t came before the contentment of animals

  • eileen johnson commented on August 16, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    this is outrageous this is their home and you are tresspassing

  • Carol Bee commented on August 16, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Money talks yet again. It’s disgusting and should be stopped. No doubt when some drunken person gets hurt they’ll do something meanwhile the animals are left to suffer. One zoo to avoid!

  • Nicky Day commented on August 16, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    This is simply immoral.

  • Deborah Undy commented on August 16, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Bristol Zoo what are you thinking of, this is totally inappropriate. You are supposed to care about the animals in your care. You should be ashamed. I will boycott you until this practice ceases and tell everyone I know to do the same!

  • Colette commented on August 16, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    I can’t believe that this zoo has such little regard for the animals they are supposed to be caring for.
    Staging an event like this is totally unacceptable.

  • Kate Shortt commented on August 16, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    This is utterly totally disgusting. Those poor imprisoned creatures having to endure yet more unpredictable behaviour via alcohol and humans with no escape. . It actually hurts my heart
    Please don’t do this. Drunk adults partying in children’s bedrooms would be wrong and this is tantamount to the same thing,

  • Denise Scott commented on August 16, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    It’s bad enough keeping these magnificent animals in captivity which is totally unnatural, but to expose them to these parties is absolutely wrong and must stress the animals out. All in the name of money, shame on the zoo owners.

  • Bridget Merrett commented on August 16, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    As if being held captive in a tiny cage isn’t bad enough. Stop this madness PLEASE. I thought this sort of thing only happened abroad but to find it’s happening in my home town is shocking. What’s next swim with dolphins?!! Absolutely despicable.

  • Margaret Townsend commented on August 16, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    It is bad enough that the world has such abuse of animals in the wild for profit that they have to be kept in an unnatural environment as a zoo, and then further disrespect and abuse happens again. Bristol Zoo Be Ashamed!

  • Gill Killey commented on August 16, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    How can you do this to your precious charges?
    Who thought up this stupid idea?
    Stop it now.
    Very disappointed in you.

  • Christine prince commented on August 16, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    It bad enough these animals are in these places but to stress them out like this!and for what…money!!!! It’s time to think about the ani5in YOUR care not your pockets!

  • Glenys Williams commented on August 16, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    Why have Zoos in the 21st century. Surely safari parks are a much better environment if we humans feel we can’t live without seeing captive animals. Personally I would much prefer to see wild animals in their natural environment. As I can’t afford to do this there are plenty of nature programmes on TV and DVD’s where one can see and appreciate these beautiful animals in the wild where they belong This is good enough for me as I believe that every wild animal has the right to be left to live their life naturally with it’s own kind. If zoos think they are aiding conservation, this is merely a way in which they can con the public into thinking that Zoos are doing a good job but in fact it is just an excuse to carry on running a business for profit. As for holding parties at a zoo, I’d love to know the name of the idiot that came up with this profit making idea. I would then arrange a late night party in his/her garden so they could experience the stress the zoo animals have to put up with. Come on the British Public let’s show zoos owners that we are not taken in by their lies and excuses.

  • Anne Gale commented on August 16, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Disgraceful. This has to stop.

  • Ben Cullis commented on August 16, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    My partner and I hired a flat through AirBnB in Northcote Road, which overlooks the penguin and ring-tailed lemurs enclosures, in the beginning of August. On concurrent nights there was firstly a drinks party and the second a live performance by Turin Breaks.
    On both evenings it was noticeable that although there was a ‘host’ with the party goers, the noise was very loud and not all those attending acted in a suitable way so close to the penguins.
    I am very surprised by the marketing that the zoo is undertaking and feel that it can only cause animals stress and disturb their normal routines.

  • margaret watson commented on August 16, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Please have the best interest of your animals, as your main priority.

  • Janice bell commented on August 16, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    This is disgusting and needs to stop surely you can see how distressed these poor animals are it’s not fair on them .

  • Marie Charlton commented on August 16, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    For God’s sake GROW UP You do not own the world but share it with others far superior in their ethical and spiritual justification for respect in the order of things. Get the brain cells togrther!!!

  • Jean Greer commented on August 16, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Disgusting! These poor animals should not be forced to ENDURE the habits of humans who cannot control themselves. The Zoo should be ashamed of subjecting the animals to this type of noise/behaviour.

  • Erin Sakip commented on August 16, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Bristol Zoo you are a disgraceful organization. PLEASE STOP this kind of entertainment which is detrimental to the animals. If you really care about animals you will stop this. If you are a SHAM zoo then the public will know and name and shame you

  • Bernie Murphy commented on August 17, 2016 at 7:58 am

    Absolutely disgusting. If you had an ounce of compassion for these animals you wouldn’t do this..

  • Geraldine Lord commented on August 17, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Bristol zoo should be shamed by putting their animals through this. Is this the new in thing all get drunk and have loud music at the Zoo. Disgusting. Do we have the name of the human in charge. Perhaps we could bombard them with emails

  • Nicky Day commented on August 17, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    I think we should start a formal petition to get the zoo closed … ideas?

  • Pauline Hardy commented on August 17, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    These parties are not fair to the animals, these need to stop. Put the animals welfare first.

  • Melissa bertorelli commented on August 17, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Should start a petition to stop this! It must be hell for these animals!

  • s commented on August 17, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    STOP THIS! It’s cruel!

  • Joyce commented on August 17, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    More and more zoos are being shown up for what they are, Whether it be the starvation and death of animals in Venezuela, the culling of unwanted zoo animals in Europe and now even mistreatment in Bristol zoo. Other animals should not be used as a meal ticket for human animals.
    I have happily written on Bristol Zoo’s Facebook page and emailed them at their guest services address:
    You should have the lions taken from you if you intend to abuse them with the loud disco and drinking on their door step. If you were next to me that close, I’d report you to Environmental Health/Police who would come and get you to stop. You mistreat your CAPTIVE ANIMALS by subjecting them to stressful noises that they CANNOT GET AWAY FROM.

  • L matthews commented on August 18, 2016 at 1:14 am


  • Romany Meredith commented on August 19, 2016 at 10:21 am

    The lions actually looked stressed the last time i took my children to the zoo and i felt so sad the male lion was pacing up and down then and this was in the day lions dnt belong n glass boxes the enclosure is to small at least at noahs ark they have a big open space everyone loves to see theese beautiful animals but should it be at the animals expense no it shouldn’t no matter how much we love to see them they belong in there natural habitat

  • Mary Connolly commented on August 19, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Unacceptable in the UK, come on let’s set a better example than this.

  • linda reaser commented on August 20, 2016 at 4:02 am

    This behavior is an injustice, the cruelty to living animals must stop!!!! They have feelings! The cruel things that are being done to animals just for a buck! I didn’t know things like this were happening. This for a measly dollar!

  • Sally Bradnam commented on August 21, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    I fail to get what positive message these events give out to our future generations and their perception of wildlife. Where is the respect shown for the dignity of these captive wild animals? Worst possible example of exploiting animals for making money. Shameful. I totally agree with an earlier comment – if you need fund-raising events hold them somewhere more appropriate. So you came up with an idea that the entertainment provided is music and alcohol? Wow, how original. Get your act together Bristol Zoo – don’t the animals and your so-called expertise in caring for them come first? I hope the member of staff who was heard to say that those two lions WERE showing signs of stress hasn’t been sacked.

  • Eunice Johnston commented on August 22, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    You really need to rethink the whole concept of what a zoo is and animal welfare should be the top of the agenda.
    Your late night parties are shocking. Shame on you.

  • Pat Cola commented on August 22, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Yeah. And when the Lions go crazy from the sound and gets scared to death that they attack someone in the person will be chewed up and whose fault is going to be
    They will kill the lion if it attack because they’re idiots the zoo’s fault the zoo stop the parties a holes
    Have you all gone crazy totally crazy stop that’s animal abuse

  • Carire commented on August 22, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    I sincerely hope PETA manage to make them see sense!

  • Amy-Jo commented on August 23, 2016 at 7:35 am

    This is disgusting please stop doing this, animals are not used to this environment they do not deserve this kind of testament by people who are meant to be looking after them.

  • Emma Brooks commented on August 27, 2016 at 7:42 am

    The Animals are obviously in distress, this needs to stop!

  • Theresa commented on August 27, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Please stop this needless suffering to these beautiful creatures. Animals are not here for humans to taunt and use as play things.
    Bristol Zoo – please stop these late night parties. It’s disgusting.

  • Jane Lee commented on August 27, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Shows just how base a lot of humans are. I am convinced that humans that are cruel and lacking in compassion are a sub-species. Bristol Zoo – shoulld be phased out along with all other zoos.

  • Rachel Davies commented on August 27, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Close the zoo down. Animals are not ours for entertainment, nor should they be removed from their natural environment, but be managed therein. There is nothing worse than seeing an animal, esp a large one, confined so humans can gawk at it.

  • Martin Putt commented on August 31, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    This is an absolute disgrace. It makes me so sad to see these poor animals suffering because the evil people running this zoo and working there don’t care and just want to make money.
    If a petition is started on this count me in to give my full support.

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