From the 1990s, the zoo in Genk has to deal with one obstacle after another: accidents with children, angry animal rights activists and a devastating undercover report by the BBC. You can hear all about it in the fifth podcast episode of ‘De Zoo van Zwartberg’.
Journalists Lien Vande Kerkhof and Kato Poelmans dive into the turbulent years of the Limburg zoo. After 1990, awareness of animal welfare grew and Zwartberg zoo ended up on the radar of various activist groups, including the very young Gaia. “Kato and I are going to Gaia’s headquarters in Brussels in this episode for an extensive interview with chairman Michel Vandenbosch,” says Lien. “Gaia (Global Action in the Interest of Animals) has been a louse in the pelt of anyone who does not care about the rights or welfare of animals since 1992. After the Belgian pressure group receives various complaints from visitors, it bites into the Zoo of Zwartberg, not to let go until the zoo finally closes its doors.”
On July 7, 1994, the BBC broadcasts the first episode of State of the Ark from, a series portraying zoos around the world. Kato Poelmans: “We discuss the images from the report with Michel Vandenbosch and the Wauters family. According to the zoo family, the episode is tricked, but Michel Vandenbosch goes against it. ‘Who still believes those people?’, he wonders in the interview. If you are curious about the contents of the infamous BBC report and the consequences for Zwartberg Zoo, you should listen to the fifth episode.”
Listen to the fifth episode of De Zoo van Zwartberg for free: scan the QR code, surf to hbvl.be/podcast, or follow us on your favorite streaming platform: Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Podcast Addict, Castbox, …