Eagle Heights owner fears closure of animal park

News Shopper: Alan Ames (left) Alan Ames (left)

A ZOO keeper claims he has been given an ultimatum by a council to get rid of his animals or face closure.

Eagle Heights owner Alan Ames has been told he needs to upgrade his wildlife park’s perimeter fence because he has potentially dangerous animals on site such as cheetahs and a camel.

Sevenoaks District Council met with Mr Ames on Thursday (Mar 25) following a routine Defra inspection which concluded his current fence needs upgrading before his zoo licence expires in two years time.

But the council has told Mr Ames he is unlikely to get planning permission to put up the type of fence required, as the zoo falls on green belt land in Eynsford.

However it says he would not need a fence if the animals were no longer on the site and the park reverted to its original use as a bird of prey centre.

If Mr Ames does not comply, the council says it could be forced to close the Lullingstone Lane site to the public.

The first of the animals, a cheetah named Savannah, arrived three years ago and since then two more cheetahs have been brought in as well as a caiman.

Mr Ames, who visits around 100 schools each year lecturing on his work, says he has no idea where the animals would go if the park lost its licence.

He said: "This is incredulous, it's come out of the blue.

“The will to carry on is slowly being beaten out of me.

“I’ve spent the last 14 years trying to do something useful and educate people and now I don’t know what to do.”

He added: “I’m an expert in my field and I’m treated like a cretin.

“Sevenoaks District does not deserve Eagle Heights. This should be the environmental jewel in their crown and it isn’t.

“If the council wants a war they can have one.”

A council spokesman said: “The council is keen to see this valuable tourist attraction continue in the district and will work closely with the owners to try and secure the centre's ongoing viability within the limits of the legislation applicable to zoos.

"If Eagle Heights failed to comply with conditions specified within its Zoo Licensing Act, then ultimately the council has the power to direct that Eagle Heights or parts of it be closed to the public, but it is hoped that the council and the owners of Eagle Heights will continue to work together to ensure Eagle Heights complies fully with the licence conditions."

Comments (34)

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1:20pm Mon 29 Mar 10

Erastus says...

If Eagle Heights is such 'a valuable tourist attraction', how comes I've never heard of it in all my years of living in Kent?
If Eagle Heights is such 'a valuable tourist attraction', how comes I've never heard of it in all my years of living in Kent? Erastus
  • Score: 0

1:50pm Mon 29 Mar 10

John Hemming-Clark says...

Because
1. You don't have any children and/or
2. You don't get out much.
If Sevenoaks DC doesn't want Eagle Heights might I suggest a relocation to Scadbury Park in Chislehurst where we are slightly more forward-looking?
Because 1. You don't have any children and/or 2. You don't get out much. If Sevenoaks DC doesn't want Eagle Heights might I suggest a relocation to Scadbury Park in Chislehurst where we are slightly more forward-looking? John Hemming-Clark
  • Score: 0

1:59pm Mon 29 Mar 10

mother of 2 says...

it would be a great shame if it was to go..i go there with the family every year it is a great day out for all of us . and good value for money and we look forward to going again this summer ...my kids love it there ....is is great for them and us be able to get up so close to the animals and to watch the great displays that take place there ..
it would be a great shame if it was to go..i go there with the family every year it is a great day out for all of us . and good value for money and we look forward to going again this summer ...my kids love it there ....is is great for them and us be able to get up so close to the animals and to watch the great displays that take place there .. mother of 2
  • Score: 0

1:59pm Mon 29 Mar 10

Erastus says...

1. How do you know?
2. Obviously, you are the one who doesn't get out much.
I asked a very simple question and you dare to come back with insults You 'suggest'. How arrogant to suggest the people of Chislehurst are 'slightly more forward-looking' than those of Sevenoaks. I think you should DEFINITELLY get out more. You are most definitely a snob of the highest order, like most Chislelhurstites are.
1. How do you know? 2. Obviously, you are the one who doesn't get out much. I asked a very simple question and you dare to come back with insults You 'suggest'. How arrogant to suggest the people of Chislehurst are 'slightly more forward-looking' than those of Sevenoaks. I think you should DEFINITELLY get out more. You are most definitely a snob of the highest order, like most Chislelhurstites are. Erastus
  • Score: 0

4:41pm Mon 29 Mar 10

daisymatt says...

I totally agree with Sevenoaks District Council. When I read last week that this man was keeping Cheetahs at Eagle Heights, I immediately wondered if the animals were being properly looked after - what qualifications does this man have to set himself up as a zoo keeper ?? - and I wondered about the safety of the people living nearby if any of these animals escaped.
I totally agree with Sevenoaks District Council. When I read last week that this man was keeping Cheetahs at Eagle Heights, I immediately wondered if the animals were being properly looked after - what qualifications does this man have to set himself up as a zoo keeper ?? - and I wondered about the safety of the people living nearby if any of these animals escaped. daisymatt
  • Score: 0

5:56pm Mon 29 Mar 10

Enigma says...

ermmmmmmm.... How about all these dangerous dogs. Perhaps their owners

Daisymatt rest assured Alan is quite suitable to look after these animals. Also the cheetah is more likely to be scared of people rather than on the attack.. .

Erastus, I recommend a trip down there, it is one of the best 'birds of prey centres' My kids and I enjoy it there. They run some fantastic courses open to the public to experience 'handling' of the birds. Well worth the costs

Alan and his team provide excellent facilities to schools.Will be such a shame if it has to close and a lot of schools etc will lose a 'good school trip location'.
ermmmmmmm.... How about all these dangerous dogs. Perhaps their owners Daisymatt rest assured Alan is quite suitable to look after these animals. Also the cheetah is more likely to be scared of people rather than on the attack.. . Erastus, I recommend a trip down there, it is one of the best 'birds of prey centres' My kids and I enjoy it there. They run some fantastic courses open to the public to experience 'handling' of the birds. Well worth the costs Alan and his team provide excellent facilities to schools.Will be such a shame if it has to close and a lot of schools etc will lose a 'good school trip location'. Enigma
  • Score: 0

8:24pm Mon 29 Mar 10

derekhope says...

I always thought Eagle Heights was about Eagles and Owls and Kestrels, that kind of thing. I get the impression it has planning permission for that use, but over time maybe a little addition here and there has gone "unnoticed". I suppose if the owner were to upgrade the fence to zoo standards that would be fine, but then if the council won't allow that development and there is no compromise, the animals that don't fall withing the remit of the fences that are there, will have to go. It would be a shame, but like I say, I always thought Eagle Heights was a birds of prey centre so I wouldn't be dissappointed if there was not a Camel or a Cheetah there anyway.
I always thought Eagle Heights was about Eagles and Owls and Kestrels, that kind of thing. I get the impression it has planning permission for that use, but over time maybe a little addition here and there has gone "unnoticed". I suppose if the owner were to upgrade the fence to zoo standards that would be fine, but then if the council won't allow that development and there is no compromise, the animals that don't fall withing the remit of the fences that are there, will have to go. It would be a shame, but like I say, I always thought Eagle Heights was a birds of prey centre so I wouldn't be dissappointed if there was not a Camel or a Cheetah there anyway. derekhope
  • Score: 0

11:22pm Mon 29 Mar 10

Paulinejones says...

I'm sorry to say Mr Ames that it is a sad fact of life that Health and Safety legislation is strangling every business in this country to the point they go out of business and you are not alone. You have a wonderful and unique facility that both myself and my children have all enjoyed over the years. Mark my word you won't be able to go to the toilet at work in 2015 without a risk assessment being done.
I'm sorry to say Mr Ames that it is a sad fact of life that Health and Safety legislation is strangling every business in this country to the point they go out of business and you are not alone. You have a wonderful and unique facility that both myself and my children have all enjoyed over the years. Mark my word you won't be able to go to the toilet at work in 2015 without a risk assessment being done. Paulinejones
  • Score: 0

9:07am Tue 30 Mar 10

Jon Cheetham says...

Erastus,
Eagle Heights has been featured lots of times in News Shopper, in print, online and in at least two videos in the last 12 months. If you type the name in the search engine on this site you will be able to find out all about it.
Erastus, Eagle Heights has been featured lots of times in News Shopper, in print, online and in at least two videos in the last 12 months. If you type the name in the search engine on this site you will be able to find out all about it. Jon Cheetham
  • Score: 0

12:42pm Tue 30 Mar 10

auntyval says...

Please don't let Eagle Heights be closed down. I have six grandchildren aged 11 to 18 and my husband and I have been taking them and their friends there regularly. The flying displays are magical and the other animals look much happier than ones I have seen in other zoos.
Please don't let Eagle Heights be closed down. I have six grandchildren aged 11 to 18 and my husband and I have been taking them and their friends there regularly. The flying displays are magical and the other animals look much happier than ones I have seen in other zoos. auntyval
  • Score: 0

12:57pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Erastus says...

Jon Cheetham wrote:
Erastus, Eagle Heights has been featured lots of times in News Shopper, in print, online and in at least two videos in the last 12 months. If you type the name in the search engine on this site you will be able to find out all about it.
Oooooooooh! Handbags at dawn from the Deputy Webmaster, it seems. Thank you so much for that patronising piece of information.
I will certainly make sure I pay better attention the next time you stand in for Mr Bull. Then again, you never have liked me, have you?
[quote][p][bold]Jon Cheetham[/bold] wrote: Erastus, Eagle Heights has been featured lots of times in News Shopper, in print, online and in at least two videos in the last 12 months. If you type the name in the search engine on this site you will be able to find out all about it.[/p][/quote]Oooooooooh! Handbags at dawn from the Deputy Webmaster, it seems. Thank you so much for that patronising piece of information. I will certainly make sure I pay better attention the next time you stand in for Mr Bull. Then again, you never have liked me, have you? Erastus
  • Score: 0

1:33pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Jon Cheetham says...

As another Chislehurst resident, I think Mr Hemming-Clarke's suggestion is an excellent one and would be delighted to have such an engaging family attraction within walking distance.
As another Chislehurst resident, I think Mr Hemming-Clarke's suggestion is an excellent one and would be delighted to have such an engaging family attraction within walking distance. Jon Cheetham
  • Score: 0

1:47pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Erastus says...

Jon Cheetham wrote:
As another Chislehurst resident, I think Mr Hemming-Clarke's suggestion is an excellent one and would be delighted to have such an engaging family attraction within walking distance.
Well, now we know why so touchy. A Chislehurst resident.
[quote][p][bold]Jon Cheetham[/bold] wrote: As another Chislehurst resident, I think Mr Hemming-Clarke's suggestion is an excellent one and would be delighted to have such an engaging family attraction within walking distance.[/p][/quote]Well, now we know why so touchy. A Chislehurst resident. Erastus
  • Score: 0

1:49pm Tue 30 Mar 10

kae says...

At least 1 cheetah has been at Eagle Heights for at least 3 years - could the council have not said something before? Surely you have to apply for a permit to own such an animal? daisymatt you couldn't ask for a better person to be looking after these animals and the people of Eynsford are far from concerned - my sister lives there and isn't bothered in the slightest. Eagle Heights is in partnership with a Cheetah conservation group (I believe in Africa) which is probably why he has cheetahs, to raise awareness! The animal experience days are well worth it. You can do anything from a Huskie trek to sitting in with the Cheetahs or Meercats!!!!!!

Erastus - it is a shame you have not heard of it. I highly recommend it even if you take children with you or not.
At least 1 cheetah has been at Eagle Heights for at least 3 years - could the council have not said something before? Surely you have to apply for a permit to own such an animal? daisymatt you couldn't ask for a better person to be looking after these animals and the people of Eynsford are far from concerned - my sister lives there and isn't bothered in the slightest. Eagle Heights is in partnership with a Cheetah conservation group (I believe in Africa) which is probably why he has cheetahs, to raise awareness! The animal experience days are well worth it. You can do anything from a Huskie trek to sitting in with the Cheetahs or Meercats!!!!!! Erastus - it is a shame you have not heard of it. I highly recommend it even if you take children with you or not. kae
  • Score: 0

1:57pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Erastus says...

Kae, thank you. I can quite honestly say I have never heard of the place. It was not meant to come across as rude, it was merely an observation.
Thank you again for your very civil, unpatronising, comment. I will pay it a visit soon.
Kae, thank you. I can quite honestly say I have never heard of the place. It was not meant to come across as rude, it was merely an observation. Thank you again for your very civil, unpatronising, comment. I will pay it a visit soon. Erastus
  • Score: 0

2:07pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Excalibur says...

This story is rather at odds with the one that's on the front page of one of your upmarket rivals (the Sevenoaks Chronicle), about the arrival of young cheetahs as part of Eagle Heights 'new breeding programme'.
Perhaps the perimeter fence security is now more of an issue in light of this?
And perhaps Mr Cheetham will now think twice about wishing for a relocation of the site to Chislehurst!
This story is rather at odds with the one that's on the front page of one of your upmarket rivals (the Sevenoaks Chronicle), about the arrival of young cheetahs as part of Eagle Heights 'new breeding programme'. Perhaps the perimeter fence security is now more of an issue in light of this? And perhaps Mr Cheetham will now think twice about wishing for a relocation of the site to Chislehurst! Excalibur
  • Score: 0

2:07pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Erastus says...

Perhaps if Eagle Heights were better advertised, more of us would have heard of it. Believe it or not, there are people in this world whose children have grown up and moved away and no longer receive this kind of information from their mouths.
Surely no one can disagree with me that if this is indeed 'a valuable tourist attraction', the chances are the tourists' would not read News Shopper on a regular basis or rely on their children to suggest they spend their money there.
Or are all the tourists from Sevenoaks and Chislehurst? Hardly Windsor Safari Park or Howletts is it?
Perhaps if Eagle Heights were better advertised, more of us would have heard of it. Believe it or not, there are people in this world whose children have grown up and moved away and no longer receive this kind of information from their mouths. Surely no one can disagree with me that if this is indeed 'a valuable tourist attraction', the chances are the tourists' would not read News Shopper on a regular basis or rely on their children to suggest they spend their money there. Or are all the tourists from Sevenoaks and Chislehurst? Hardly Windsor Safari Park or Howletts is it? Erastus
  • Score: 0

2:08pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Erastus says...

Mr Cheetham, don't give up the day job.
Whoops, sorry. This IS your day job, isn't it?
Mr Cheetham, don't give up the day job. Whoops, sorry. This IS your day job, isn't it? Erastus
  • Score: 0

2:19pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Jon Cheetham says...

Excalibur,
The more the merrier.
Erastus,
Please elucidate. I didn't understand your last comment.
Excalibur, The more the merrier. Erastus, Please elucidate. I didn't understand your last comment. Jon Cheetham
  • Score: 0

3:17pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Erastus says...

I don't think I'll bother. After all, you only delete comments that you don't like, don't you?
I don't think I'll bother. After all, you only delete comments that you don't like, don't you? Erastus
  • Score: 0

3:42pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Erastus says...

Excalibur, cheetahs or Cheethams? Both will never change their spots, after all.
Excalibur, cheetahs or Cheethams? Both will never change their spots, after all. Erastus
  • Score: 0

3:55pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Jon Cheetham says...

Erastus,
You appear to be insinuating something and communicating by innuendo. Why not just say what is on your mind if you have a grievance.
Erastus, You appear to be insinuating something and communicating by innuendo. Why not just say what is on your mind if you have a grievance. Jon Cheetham
  • Score: 0

4:41pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Erastus says...

It's a year since I wrote the following: WHEN THE GLOVES COME OFF IN THE LAND OF BLOG.
I hope Webmaster, Simon Bull The Wise, is enjoying his break.
My, how time flies.
It's a year since I wrote the following: WHEN THE GLOVES COME OFF IN THE LAND OF BLOG. I hope Webmaster, Simon Bull The Wise, is enjoying his break. My, how time flies. Erastus
  • Score: 0

4:54pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Jon Cheetham says...

Erastus,
I read your blog, but I'm none the wiser (as my grandmother might say). Simon's at his desk by the way.
Erastus, I read your blog, but I'm none the wiser (as my grandmother might say). Simon's at his desk by the way. Jon Cheetham
  • Score: 0

4:58pm Tue 30 Mar 10

Erastus says...

Hi Simon.
Hi Simon. Erastus
  • Score: 0

4:24pm Wed 31 Mar 10

reptiles says...

i must confess i have never been to the site but Eagle hights have been to a lot of schools in bexley and my kids had their photos done with birds of prey when younger. I have seen them over danson park at festivals, but like others have said thought it was only birds of prey - as im not a bird lover as such id never bothered to go to the site. But i must say it would be nice if it could stay and i dont know may be change its licence or something as by the sounds of it they have animals there that not many people have the luxury of seeing - and yes suppose it is sort of local - probably far easier to get to than London Zoo So id like to see it stay - if not in its current location then maybe some where nearby so kent residents along with other people could go visit and learn
i must confess i have never been to the site but Eagle hights have been to a lot of schools in bexley and my kids had their photos done with birds of prey when younger. I have seen them over danson park at festivals, but like others have said thought it was only birds of prey - as im not a bird lover as such id never bothered to go to the site. But i must say it would be nice if it could stay and i dont know may be change its licence or something as by the sounds of it they have animals there that not many people have the luxury of seeing - and yes suppose it is sort of local - probably far easier to get to than London Zoo So id like to see it stay - if not in its current location then maybe some where nearby so kent residents along with other people could go visit and learn reptiles
  • Score: 0

4:28pm Wed 31 Mar 10

reptiles says...

As also said earlier the council must know what animals are there - do they not do an inspection of the site every year to make sure its up to standard etc?? so why after 3 years are they decided to make these comments. Plus sounds like the owner is happy to put up the fence but council refuses to let them
As also said earlier the council must know what animals are there - do they not do an inspection of the site every year to make sure its up to standard etc?? so why after 3 years are they decided to make these comments. Plus sounds like the owner is happy to put up the fence but council refuses to let them reptiles
  • Score: 0

3:11pm Thu 1 Apr 10

YAPOV says...

Erastus wrote:
If Eagle Heights is such 'a valuable tourist attraction', how comes I've never heard of it in all my years of living in Kent?
As the befuddled buffoon lives in the LONDON Borough of Bexley no wonder he has never heard of it.

He doesn't even know where he lives, let alone where anything else is. Senility is a sad thing.
[quote][p][bold]Erastus[/bold] wrote: If Eagle Heights is such 'a valuable tourist attraction', how comes I've never heard of it in all my years of living in Kent?[/p][/quote]As the befuddled buffoon lives in the LONDON Borough of Bexley no wonder he has never heard of it. He doesn't even know where he lives, let alone where anything else is. Senility is a sad thing. YAPOV
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Thu 1 Apr 10

MissBecca says...

Erastus wrote:
It's a year since I wrote the following: WHEN THE GLOVES COME OFF IN THE LAND OF BLOG.
I hope Webmaster, Simon Bull The Wise, is enjoying his break.
My, how time flies.
Why are you so oddly confrontational? A man who values his own opinion, let's say, a little too much? You post a couple of blogs and seem to think you're the pope.
[quote][p][bold]Erastus[/bold] wrote: It's a year since I wrote the following: WHEN THE GLOVES COME OFF IN THE LAND OF BLOG. I hope Webmaster, Simon Bull The Wise, is enjoying his break. My, how time flies.[/p][/quote]Why are you so oddly confrontational? A man who values his own opinion, let's say, a little too much? You post a couple of blogs and seem to think you're the pope. MissBecca
  • Score: 0

10:49am Sat 3 Apr 10

HelenJames says...

Erastus wrote:
Perhaps if Eagle Heights were better advertised, more of us would have heard of it. Believe it or not, there are people in this world whose children have grown up and moved away and no longer receive this kind of information from their mouths. Surely no one can disagree with me that if this is indeed 'a valuable tourist attraction', the chances are the tourists' would not read News Shopper on a regular basis or rely on their children to suggest they spend their money there. Or are all the tourists from Sevenoaks and Chislehurst? Hardly Windsor Safari Park or Howletts is it?
Sorry, but who exactly qualified you to be making comments like this? I am a season ticket holder at Eagle Heights and have been for many years. You quite clearly know nothing about Eagle heights therefore are completely unqualified to speak of it. I understand that every man is entitled to his opinion but your comments are simply ludacris! The reason they are not 'better advertised' is because it is run by a family of 4 animal lovers and they push every penny they have into their projects, enclosures and anything else the animals need. Perhaps the reason Howletts is better advertised is because they are alot larger and have other sources of income to the park which arent available to people like the Ames family. I think it is simply ignorant to compare them to places such as this as they are totaly different and pride themselves in being so. They are one of the only places i have ever been that bring their animals from their enclosures and re-create natural behaviour for stimulation and enjoyment. I think this is much better than watching animals pace up and down and look simply bored, something which i have seen at HOWLETTS.

Next time you want to get on your high horse Erastus i suggest you have the evidence to back it up. Dont trample over somebody elses 14 years of hard work and dedication if you know nothing of it.

I have had many conversations with the family as they are always more than happy to give their time to explain the situations they are facing. Perhaps you should take a trip up there this bank holiday and see for yourself.....
[quote][p][bold]Erastus[/bold] wrote: Perhaps if Eagle Heights were better advertised, more of us would have heard of it. Believe it or not, there are people in this world whose children have grown up and moved away and no longer receive this kind of information from their mouths. Surely no one can disagree with me that if this is indeed 'a valuable tourist attraction', the chances are the tourists' would not read News Shopper on a regular basis or rely on their children to suggest they spend their money there. Or are all the tourists from Sevenoaks and Chislehurst? Hardly Windsor Safari Park or Howletts is it?[/p][/quote]Sorry, but who exactly qualified you to be making comments like this? I am a season ticket holder at Eagle Heights and have been for many years. You quite clearly know nothing about Eagle heights therefore are completely unqualified to speak of it. I understand that every man is entitled to his opinion but your comments are simply ludacris! The reason they are not 'better advertised' is because it is run by a family of 4 animal lovers and they push every penny they have into their projects, enclosures and anything else the animals need. Perhaps the reason Howletts is better advertised is because they are alot larger and have other sources of income to the park which arent available to people like the Ames family. I think it is simply ignorant to compare them to places such as this as they are totaly different and pride themselves in being so. They are one of the only places i have ever been that bring their animals from their enclosures and re-create natural behaviour for stimulation and enjoyment. I think this is much better than watching animals pace up and down and look simply bored, something which i have seen at HOWLETTS. Next time you want to get on your high horse Erastus i suggest you have the evidence to back it up. Dont trample over somebody elses 14 years of hard work and dedication if you know nothing of it. I have had many conversations with the family as they are always more than happy to give their time to explain the situations they are facing. Perhaps you should take a trip up there this bank holiday and see for yourself..... HelenJames
  • Score: 0

2:17am Sun 4 Apr 10

GODUPERE2 says...

ERRRR. CLOSE IT!
ERRRR. CLOSE IT! GODUPERE2
  • Score: 0

12:02am Thu 8 Apr 10

HelenJames says...

GODUPERE2 wrote:
ERRRR. CLOSE IT!
What makes you say that?!

Why do you want to close it?!
[quote][p][bold]GODUPERE2[/bold] wrote: ERRRR. CLOSE IT![/p][/quote]What makes you say that?! Why do you want to close it?! HelenJames
  • Score: 0

1:49am Sun 11 Apr 10

Robski says...

daisymatt wrote:
I totally agree with Sevenoaks District Council. When I read last week that this man was keeping Cheetahs at Eagle Heights, I immediately wondered if the animals were being properly looked after - what qualifications does this man have to set himself up as a zoo keeper ?? - and I wondered about the safety of the people living nearby if any of these animals escaped.
This is a typical reaction of people who are unaware of Alan's work and have not seen the cheetahs at Eagle Heights for themselves. When you visit it is clear to see that the cheetahs are loved and cared for especially by Alan's son Jonathan.

Alan and his family have a wealth of experience and are trying to make a difference in the world of animals.

The cheetahs and Camel are only "potentially" dangerous. You don't require a zoo fence around a field of horses in-case they escape and "potentially" trample you to death. Many zoos around the world bring cheetahs into public areas on a harness just to show they are not as dangerous as other big cats.

If the Eagle Heights cheetah was that dangerous do you think I'd be standing 2 metres away from it taking this photography ?

http://www.robertsto
cker.co.uk/cheetah.h
tml

If Sevenoaks District Council had the will and people supported Eagle Heights I am sure the issue of the fence could be resolved. Green belt rulings have been overridden in the past so why not in this case.
[quote][p][bold]daisymatt[/bold] wrote: I totally agree with Sevenoaks District Council. When I read last week that this man was keeping Cheetahs at Eagle Heights, I immediately wondered if the animals were being properly looked after - what qualifications does this man have to set himself up as a zoo keeper ?? - and I wondered about the safety of the people living nearby if any of these animals escaped.[/p][/quote]This is a typical reaction of people who are unaware of Alan's work and have not seen the cheetahs at Eagle Heights for themselves. When you visit it is clear to see that the cheetahs are loved and cared for especially by Alan's son Jonathan. Alan and his family have a wealth of experience and are trying to make a difference in the world of animals. The cheetahs and Camel are only "potentially" dangerous. You don't require a zoo fence around a field of horses in-case they escape and "potentially" trample you to death. Many zoos around the world bring cheetahs into public areas on a harness just to show they are not as dangerous as other big cats. If the Eagle Heights cheetah was that dangerous do you think I'd be standing 2 metres away from it taking this photography ? http://www.robertsto cker.co.uk/cheetah.h tml If Sevenoaks District Council had the will and people supported Eagle Heights I am sure the issue of the fence could be resolved. Green belt rulings have been overridden in the past so why not in this case. Robski
  • Score: 0

9:11am Tue 13 Apr 10

Treemaster says...

What's interesting is the way the Ames family make themselves out to be martyrs? Lets not forget they're in business to make money, not for the good of the planet, the animals or the community...It's like the banks trying to con us into thinking they're our best friends for lending us money...yeah right. As a falconer, I know a bit - if not all - that goes on in the local falconry community. I've heard that these falconry centres (naming no names - work it out for yourself) import birds into this country from abroad to sell for big profits. This in itself isn't illegal (yet) depending on the species, but ask yourself if its right. Taking amimals from their natural habitats not only traumatises them but in many cases also effects the natural ecological balance of the places they're taken from. Whats more, the courses that these centres run can only ever teach the basics in the time given (usually five days at most). I believe that in America a prospective falconer must serve a two year apprenticeship with a qualified falconer before they are aloud a licence to keep birds of prey. Not so in Britain. Here you can go out a buy a non endangered species with no experience or licence what so ever, whilst many falconry centres are only too willing to sell their students (of five days) birds - gaining on going profits from feed and equipment orders.
Birds of prey are delicate creatures with specific needs and should only be handled by people who are fully competent. Unfortunately, therefore, a great many birds die due to the ignorance of their new (and inexperienced) owners. There is very little or no legislation in this country over who can keep birds of prey and where - so you find then caged up in city gardens and goodness knows where else which to my mind is an outrage.
That said, Mr Ames has a reputation for being a good falconer. He certainly names himself as an expert in the field. But from what I've been told, the eagle heights site isn't really large enough to be a zoo. The enclosures are very small in which case its no wonder people compare them to places like Port Lympne where the animals are provided with acres to roam.
Finally, green belt is green belt. As a proffesional forester, I know this more than most. People are already refering to Kent as the 'Patio of England' so I agree with the council. I also think there's probably a lot more to this story than the Amse's are letting on.
What's interesting is the way the Ames family make themselves out to be martyrs? Lets not forget they're in business to make money, not for the good of the planet, the animals or the community...It's like the banks trying to con us into thinking they're our best friends for lending us money...yeah right. As a falconer, I know a bit - if not all - that goes on in the local falconry community. I've heard that these falconry centres (naming no names - work it out for yourself) import birds into this country from abroad to sell for big profits. This in itself isn't illegal (yet) depending on the species, but ask yourself if its right. Taking amimals from their natural habitats not only traumatises them but in many cases also effects the natural ecological balance of the places they're taken from. Whats more, the courses that these centres run can only ever teach the basics in the time given (usually five days at most). I believe that in America a prospective falconer must serve a two year apprenticeship with a qualified falconer before they are aloud a licence to keep birds of prey. Not so in Britain. Here you can go out a buy a non endangered species with no experience or licence what so ever, whilst many falconry centres are only too willing to sell their students (of five days) birds - gaining on going profits from feed and equipment orders. Birds of prey are delicate creatures with specific needs and should only be handled by people who are fully competent. Unfortunately, therefore, a great many birds die due to the ignorance of their new (and inexperienced) owners. There is very little or no legislation in this country over who can keep birds of prey and where - so you find then caged up in city gardens and goodness knows where else which to my mind is an outrage. That said, Mr Ames has a reputation for being a good falconer. He certainly names himself as an expert in the field. But from what I've been told, the eagle heights site isn't really large enough to be a zoo. The enclosures are very small in which case its no wonder people compare them to places like Port Lympne where the animals are provided with acres to roam. Finally, green belt is green belt. As a proffesional forester, I know this more than most. People are already refering to Kent as the 'Patio of England' so I agree with the council. I also think there's probably a lot more to this story than the Amse's are letting on. Treemaster
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