The operators of a Northland wildlife sanctuary have been put into involuntary liquidation.
Big Cats Limited, which operates Kamo Wildlife Sanctuary, announced on Tuesday morning an order for liquidation was made by the High Court in Whangārei on March 1.
“The important thing is that the cats are fine and being looked after. Their welfare is unaffected,” director of Big Cats Limited Janette Vallance said in a statement.
“I’m working through several options at this point and will be in contact with people who have made bookings ahead for the coming weeks.
“Negotiations are under way with the liquidator, Bolton Equities, and Robyn and Murray Bolton personally, as well as MPI.
“There can be no further comment at this time, but announcements will be made in the near future as matters become clearer.”
The wildlife sanctuary has nine African lions, six Barbary lions – extinct in the wild – two Bengal tigers and New Zealand’s only leopard.
The park reopened in December 2021 after being closed for eight years as the operators worked on upgrading facilities, building significant new containment facilities, providing all that was required for animal welfare and maintaining staffing at a level that could sustain public access.
The wildlife sanctuary used to be known as Zion Wildlife Gardens. Tragedy struck the park in May 2009 when big cat hander Dalu Mncube was mauled to death by a 260kg white tiger in an enclosure as visitors watched.