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Thursday, 6 February, 2003, 10:27 GMT
Animal welfare officers raid Skippy's home
Kangaroo
At least one kangaroo had to be destroyed
Australian animal welfare officers have raided and closed a Sydney wildlife park - where the popular television series Skippy was filmed - because the animals there were dying from neglect

There has been a litany of complaints about the conditions at the park and yet the operators have continued to trade

State Agriculture Minister Richard Amery
Officials said they had to put down one emaciated kangaroo at Waratah Park in northern Sydney, where around 30% of the animals in its care died last year.

Several animals were taken to other zoos in the city, including a koala said to be on the brink of death.

The park became famous for the long-running "Skippy the Bush Kangaroo" series, about a park ranger's children and their pet kangaroo, which was filmed there in in the 1960s and 1970s.

The show was broadcast in more than 80 countries and translated into more than six languages.

Operators' failure

Government officials in the state of New South Wales said that the park had been operating without a permit and had been warned repeatedly to improve standards.

The 12-hectare park housed a variety of animals, including wallabies, Australian wild dogs, or dingoes, and Tasmanian devils.

The various eastern grey kangaroos which were used to play Skippy in the television programme no longer lived there.

State Agriculture Minister Richard Amery said that the park's operators had failed to provide animals with a good diet and sufficient veterinary treatment, which had led to an "unacceptably high number of animal deaths".

Animal records were not kept and buildings were poorly maintained, he added.

"There has been a litany of complaints about the conditions at the park and yet the operators have continued to trade," he told Australia's Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

The park's operators have not commented on the raid.

See also:

21 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
21 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
04 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
16 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
22 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
03 Dec 98 | Science/Nature
21 Dec 98 | Science/Nature
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