Report: Animals at Waccatee Zoo showing signs of ‘psychological distress’

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Agriculture determined that animals at the Waccatee Zoo are "showing signs of psychological distress."

This was the conclusion agency inspectors came to after conducting an investigation at the facility on March 28.

According to a press release, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals alerted the USDA to eyewitness video showing primates at the Waccatee Zoo pacing, swaying and exhibiting self-injurious types of behavior.

The USDA's report states two bears were seen repeatedly pacing in their enclosure and only stopped when visitors threw peanuts at them.

A male baboon was also reportedly seen pacing in figure eights, while a female baboon showed "the swaying behavior she had previously exhibited consistently," according to the USDA report.

A second male baboon repeatedly rocked back and forth, tossed his head, stood up, circled in place and then resumed rocking.

Inspectors also noted a male macaque continued to exhibit "abnormal behaviors."

"He has floating limb syndrome, where his left leg slowly floats up, he sees it, and attacks it," the USDA report stated.

Inspectors determined that all the animals were showing signs of psychological distress, according to the March 28 report.

"Although they came to the zoo many years ago with these behaviors, they need to be recognized as requiring special attention, and more needs to be done to try and alleviate these behaviors," the report stated.

When called for comment, employees at the zoo said a spokesperson was not available and told WMBF News to call back on Friday.

The Waccatee Zoo has been at the center of controversy before regarding the care of its animals.

PETA was looking for answers after a chimpanzee named Chico died at the zoo in 2015 after living there for more than 30 years.

The group also alleged animals were being abused at the zoo back in 2014.

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