Animal rights groups concerned over sale of private Chatham-Kent Zoo

Greenview Aviaries Park and Zoo in the Chatham-Kent area is up for sale, along with its more than 450 animals, including lions, tigers, zebras, monkeys and more.

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Want to own a 20-hectare zoo with over 450 animals, including lions, tigers, zebras, monkeys and more?

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It’s up to you if you can afford the $4.5 million asking price for the Greenview Aviaries Park and Zoo in the Chatham-Kent area.

“There are all kinds of animals here that you can imagine,” Cody Kraus, a Century 21 real estate agent, said in a video promoting the MLS listing.

“It’s an amazing business with multiple revenue streams.”

Located at 12734 Talbot Trail in the community of Morpeth, Greenview Aviaries officially went on sale earlier this year.

The family business was established 38 years ago. Since then it has grown to offer amenities such as a restaurant, picnic and play area and a water park.

We apologize, but this video failed to load.

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But the zoo’s vast menagerie is its main attraction and a vital part of the sale of the property.

Besides lions and tigers, the collection of predatory big cats includes cougars and jaguars.

There are large grazing ungulates like llamas and bison. There are exotic birds, from peacocks to African cranes; Reptiles such as snakes, lizards and turtles; Small primates, large marsupials and many other creatures requiring special care.

“It’s a proven family business that has been running well for many, many years,” enthused Kraus in his video — which only briefly mentions animal responsibilities.

“You’re assuming you’re taking over the whole business — not just ownership,” Kraus told potential buyers. “All animals come with it. Everything you need to get this business up and running is in this property, all under one purchase price.

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A kangaroo looks out of its enclosure at Greenview Aviaries Park and Zoo in this August 2021 file photo.
A kangaroo looks out of its enclosure at Greenview Aviaries Park and Zoo in this August 2021 file photo. Photo by Peter Epp /Chatham this week
  1. A red eclectus parrot seen here is one of a type of parrot that was stolen from Greenview Aviaries Park & ​​Zoo near Morpeth last fall.  (File photo by Garry Sowerby/Postmedia Network)

    Exotic birds stolen from Greenview Aviaries Park and Zoo

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The possibility of hundreds of zoo animals suddenly changing hands has raised alarm among animal rights groups.

“There are no regulations in Ontario on who can own and operate a zoo,” said Julie Woodyer, campaign director for the group Zoocheck Canada.

“You don’t need to be trained in providing animals with proper nutrition, how to handle them, how to build a proper cage – or anything else.”

According to Woodyer, the province actually has more regulations regarding the ownership of native wildlife species — like raccoons — than for exotic animals such as those held at Greenview Aviaries.

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A bald eagle stays cool at Greenview Aviaries Park and Zoo in this file photo from 2010.
A bald eagle stays cool at Greenview Aviaries Park and Zoo in this file photo from 2010. Photo by Jason Kryk /Windsor Star

“The current system puts both people and animals at risk,” Woodyer explained.

Woodyer said Zoocheck Canada became aware of the housing announcement about a week ago and is monitoring the situation.

Asked if she thought Greenview Aviaries would do their due diligence to ensure potential buyers are able to care for the animals, Woodyer replied, “Who knows? This is the problem. There is no obligation to do so. »

“Ontario is the only province in Canada without legislation dealing with captive wildlife…The key issue is that this is an industry that needs to be regulated.

Michele Hamers, wildlife campaign manager for the group World Animal Protection, has similar concerns. She said Greenview Aviaries had been mentioned in previous reports from her organization.

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“A lot of animals are kept in small cages. Social animals are kept alone or in unnatural conditions,” Hamers said.

“It’s a matter of public health and safety. Do big cat enclosures meet professional safety standards? And this zoo can be bought by anyone. It’s something to really worry about. »

“In Ontario, you are not required to have any expertise, training or knowledge to run a facility like this.”

A Google Maps satellite image of the Greenview Aviaries Park & ​​Zoo in the Chatham-Kent area.
A Google Maps satellite image of the Greenview Aviaries Park & ​​Zoo in the Chatham-Kent area. Picture by Google Maps /Windsor Star

The owners of Greenview Aviaries did not respond to Star requests for comment.

Over the past few months, Chatham-Kent police have been investigating the theft of exotic birds from the property. Six to seven parrots and cockatoos were stolen from Greenview aviaries in three break and enter incidents between October and November last year.

Zoo co-owner Brian Daly told the Chatham Daily News at the time that the series of events was unprecedented at Greenview Aviaries and that he had invested in safety improvements.

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