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Wednesday, 5 February, 2003, 17:47 GMT
Zoo plans to scale-down
Petra the camel at Glasgow Zoo
The zoo has run up massive debts
Glasgow Zoo is putting forward proposals to close itself down and open a new attraction.

The owners of the 100-acre zoo park, which has been struggling under massive debts, said it was out of date and the public wanted something different.

The 56-year-old institution, which has lions, tigers, camels and a rhinoceros among its attractions, wants to clear its debts by selling off land for housing and opening a smaller attraction.

Animal rights campaigners, who have been fiercely critical of the zoo, said they would fight any new plans.

Glasgow Zoo logo
A smaller zoo park is proposed

When it first opened in 1947, the zoo attracted massive numbers.

More than 100,000 people visited the site, at Calderpark in the east of the city, during its first three weeks.

But in recent years visitors numbers have dropped and with less money to invest the zoo has become more rundown.

There have been complaints about the welfare of the animals, although the zoo said that after independent investigations none was upheld.

The West of Scotland Zoological Society, which owns the zoo, accepts that it has seen better days.

Feasibility study

It is hoping to sell off land to a developer to clear a reported 3m of debts.

Any surplus from the sale could be used to build a smaller animal attraction.

It wants a feasibility study to see whether this is what the public wants.

Animal rights campaigners said they doubt the ability of the zoo's management team to run any attraction.

They said they will fight any new plans if they are put forward.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland's Gillian Marles
"Visitor numbers have been dropping steadily"
See also:

10 Apr 02 | Scotland
10 Feb 02 | Scotland
04 Apr 01 | Scotland
20 Mar 01 | Scotland
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