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Six Flags Great Adventure Is Under Scrutiny From The Federal Government

This New Jersey theme park’s methods of purchase and sale of exotic animals has been called into question by federal agencies. Apparently, the park’s practices are breaking a few regulations and permit laws.

The authorities may be conducting a federal criminal investigation of them, and they may have broken the Endangered Species Act this past summer, since they still do not possess the necessary permits.

If an entity is interested in trading exotic animals that were born in the United States and are listed as endangered or threatened in the wild, you need a captive-bred wildlife permit. This permit is necessary for any interstate trade of these animals.

The park used to have valid permits that allowed them to purchase red lechwe, African elephants, and Siberian tigers.

Six Flags Great Adventure waited more than a decade to renew its permits after they expired in 2007. During this time, the park “imported” one Siberian Tiger and eight Red Lechwe, even though they were all born in the United States. According to both federal and state permits, any movement of animals into or out of a park is considered an import or export – regardless if they are from the United States or a foreign country.

The Park’s safari director Bill Rivers and the chief veterinarian, Kenneth Keiffer filed an appeal letter regarding the permits renewals.

File photo: African elephants at Six Flags Great Adventure

“Six Flags Great Adventure Safari Park has maintained a CBW since 1979 during which it has covered all felidae, bovidae and cervidae species. Our critical animal care staff have over 100 years of combined experience working in a zoological setting.”

“We have consistently submitted our required CBW annual activity report to USFWS every March for the prior year’s activity. We have always conducted ourselves with full transparency, compliance and cooperation with all regulatory agencies. As such we have never been denied a requested federal, state or local permit.”

Rives and Keiffer argued that they did not necessarily let the permit expire, even though they did not have a physical copy of it. They suggested it may have been lost when Six Flags changed its record-keeping systems.

It’s been a year since the federal government began looking into the permit issues with the park, but they have yet to reach a solution.

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