SOUTH Lakes Safari Zoo has closed temporarily after the company that runs it had its lease terminated.

Police and security staff have been at the zoo this morning assisting.

The move follows a dispute between zoo managers The Cumbria Zoo Company and the landlords of the site, The Zoo Investment Company.  

The closure is expected to be 'short lived'.

A spokesman for ZIC said: "The Zoo Investment Company has today formally terminated the leases under which The Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd (CZCL) occupied the premises of the South Lakes Safari Zoo.

"This decision has been taken most reluctantly after very careful consideration and following many months of trying to resolve numerous and serious breaches of the terms of their occupation and the related Agreements 

"For the immediate future the safety and welfare of all of the animals at the zoo will be the main priority for the company.  

"We have engaged experienced keepers to assist in this process but it is hoped that the keepers and other staff previously employed by CZCL will wish to join us  

"The zoo will be closed in the short term whilst the company liaises with the local authority.

"The closure will be short lived but in the meantime the company intends to carry out a number of necessary repairs and improvements to enhance safety, access and the general quality of the zoo."

Police arrived at the attraction in Dalton earlier this morning.

Cumbria Zoo Company has been contacted for comment.