THE former boss of Dalton's zoo returned to the site.

David Rivera, formerly Gill, visited the South Lakes Safari Zoo to carry out an 'audit of assets'.

It former part of the latter stages of selling the zoo site, previously owned by Mr Rivera, to the Zoo Investment Company.

The former zoo boss was assigned as an agent for the company to allow him to visit the site.

He previously failed to show up as planned for a visit to the zoo.

Commenting on his recent visit, the South Lakes Safari Zoo said on social media: "For those who visited us today we thank you for your patience and understanding as we accompanied Mr Gill on his ‘inspection’ of the zoo, I know some of you were alarmed and I especially want to thank staff who as always displayed the utmost professionalism in what was for some a difficult day."

Last year, the land which houses the zoo was bought by the Zoo Investment Company, however, the day-to-day operation of the zoo remains unaffected by the sale.

A spokesman for ZIC said Mr Rivera had no other association or relationship with the zoo other than his appointment by the company as an agent.

He said: “The previous freeholder David Rivera has been appointed as an agent solely to allow him to perform an audit of assets as a final stage of the sale.

“He has no other association or relationship with ZIC and will have no on-going role.”

Having faced relentless criticism and calls for him to step down following a series of scandals, including the death of zookeeper Sarah McClay in 2013, the under-fire zoo boss handed over the reins in January 2017.

It gave control of the park to a new company Cumbria Zoo Company Limited headed up by Karen Brewer.

Mr Rivera, bought the land off Broughton Road in 1993 and opened South Lakes Wild Animal Park the following year.

The Zoo Investment Company is a consortium of private investors.

The Cumbria Zoo Company's licence to run to run the park was renewed for another six years by Barrow Council last month.

It followed a positive inspection of the zoo site.