Zoo becomes first in UK to close permanently due to coronavirus pandemic
Living Coastsy in Torquay will not be reopened as a visitor attraction after it has been unable to manage its "substantial" maintenance costs during the closure without revenue from ticket sales. (SWNS)
A Devon zoo is the first in the UK to close permanently due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Living Coasts, a conservation organization in Torquay, will not be reopened as a visitor attraction after the "substantial" maintenance costs during the closure cannot be met without revenue from ticket sales.
The zoos were given the green light to reopen doors from Monday, but some have delayed reopening despite being closed all April, May and half of June. Personnel were still needed at the locations to look after the animals.
Some of the country's largest animal attractions have warned that they are "threatened with extinction". Some reveal that their future "stays in balance" and that they need "substantial cash injection" to survive.
The penguin enclosure on living shores in Torquay, Devon. (SWNS)
Living Coasts, which has been operating as a coastal zoo for almost 20 years, is the first to confirm that its gates will remain closed.
The zoo, operated by the Wild Planet Trust, which also includes Paignton and the Newquay Zoo, is currently looking for new homes for its animals and said it will do everything in its power to avoid putting one of them to sleep got to.
All 44 employees are at risk of being made redundant.
Visitors interact with the animals in the penguin enclosure on the living coasts. (SWNS)
In a statement on his website, a spokesman wrote: "It is unfortunate that Wild Planet Trust must announce that Living Coasts will not reopen as a visitor attraction after it closes during the current global coronavirus pandemic.
"Falling visitor numbers and the forced closure of all zoos due to COVID-19 meant that the cost base had to be checked and efficiency increased.
Read More: Queues in front of big shops and crowds flock to zoos, while England eases the block
"After almost 20 years of operation, the location also had to be serviced significantly, which the trust can no longer afford."
Living Coasts is part of a worldwide network of zoos and aquariums and will search for houses for the animals after the movement restrictions have been lifted.
The South American fur seals Grace and Tunata enjoy a cooling shower. (SWNS)
"Most of the animals that are kept on live coasts are marine animals that need special facilities. Living Coast is confident that good new homes for the animals will be found, but it is currently unclear how long this process can take," said the Speaker.
The zoo said it was "unlikely" that it would not find accommodation that would meet the needs of the animals, but that it might have to make the difficult decision to put them to sleep. However, this is not expected to be a likely scenario.
Living Coasts has been an extremely popular school outing destination since it opened in 2003.
Read More: Boris Johnson announces that zoos can be reopened in the recent lockout easing
The charity said it has welcomed 6,500 school visitors annually since it opened, and has focused on preserving and protecting many of the marine species it cares for, including penguins, otters and seals.
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