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Columbus Zoo cuts ties with certain animal organizations due to allegations made in documentary

The documentary “The Conservation Game” examines the connection of the nation’s top television celebrities and their possible connection to the exotic pet trade.
Credit: aceshot1

Officials from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium say the zoo is going through changes in light of issues and allegations raised in a new documentary. 

The changes that were announced Thursday include cutting relationship ties with certain animal organizations mentioned in the film and not allowing any cats or primates off grounds for programming. 

The documentary “The Conservation Game” examines the connection of the nation’s top television celebrities and their possible connection to the exotic pet trade.

The film features the Columbus Zoo and its former longtime director Jack Hanna and has not yet been released to the public.

The zoo did not release the names of the organizations it has ended relationships with. In a statement, leaders say that the zoo’s actions have touched on nearly all the points raised in the documentary. 

“Zoo policies have been and will continue to be improved to ensure animal welfare,” leaders stated. “Any action that may risk animal or human safety is, and shall be, strictly prohibited.”

Zoo officials are also advocating for the passage of the Big Cat Safety Act, which is co-sponsored by Ohio Senator Rob Portman.  

The bill, which passed the House of Representatives in December 2020, would restrict private ownership of big cats and all direct public contact with the animals will be forbidden. 

If passed, those who violated the law could be fined a maximum of $20,000 and could face up to a 5-year prison sentence.