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Dublin: 2 °C Monday 19 March, 2018

Fire service called out to water sea lions at circus

Duffy’s Circus said it had an “unexpected problem” with the water pressure on site in Waterford.


THE FIRE SERVICE was called out to a circus in Tramore last night – but not for the reason you’d think.

Thankfully it wasn’t a serious issue with a stranded high-wire acrobat, but a need to water sea lions.

The mammals were in need of watering and the circus wasn’t able to access enough water at its Tramore site.


A spokesperson from Waterford Animal Welfare, on the scene in Tramore, said that there was no animal welfare concern.

There was “nothing untoward” with the situation, he said.

Duffy’s Circus told that the fire brigade visited, “not with water for the animals, we needed water to fill the outdoor swimming pool for our sea lions”.

A spokesperson said that due to an “unexpected problem with the water pressure on the supply” when the circus arrived on the site in Waterford yesterday morning, it had to call the fire service to fill the outdoor pool.

It’s not the first time we’ve had to call on the Fire Brigade to fill the pool, though it’s the first time at short notice.


The circus added:

“There was no issue with fresh drinking water for our animals, purely a water pressure problem that would have left the sea lions’ swimming pool filling for a lot longer than we find acceptable.”

Its animals were inspected yesterday by an inspector from Waterford Animal Welfare.

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA), however, has strongly criticized the circus for its actions in this case.

In a statement sent to, ISPCA CEO Dr Andrew Kelly said yesterday’s incident was further evidence that “circuses cannot provide a suitable environment for wild animals.”

Not being able to provide water for marine mammals such as sea lions is a significant concern…
Travelling circuses cannot even provide the minimum standards imposed on zoos through the EU Zoos Directive.
The outdoor pool is simply not big enough for three fully grown sea lions.

With additional reporting by Dan Mac Guill and Susan Ryan

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