Hundreds Of Animals Left Homeless As Zoo Is Forced To Permanently Close
A zoo in Devon has been forced to permanently close due to the coronavirus crisis, leaving hundreds of animals homeless.
Living Coasts, a coastal zoo in Torquay, Devon, has confirmed it will remain permanently closed, meaning animals including seals, penguins and ducks are desperately looking for a new home.
The zoo is home to animals including South American fur seals, African penguins, macaroni penguins, sea ducks, pied avocet, redshanks, black-necked stilts, ruffs and terns.
Although Living Coasts is doing everything in its power to find new homes for the animals, they said that - although unlikely - they "may need to make the difficult decision to euthanise".
A statement on the zoo's website reads: "It is with regret that Wild Planet Trust has to announce that it will not be re-opening Living Coasts as a visitor attraction following its closure during the current global coronavirus pandemic.
"Falling visitor numbers and the forced closure of all its zoos due to COVID-19 has meant that it has had to look at its cost base and make efficiencies.
"After nearly twenty years of operation the site also needed substantial maintenance that the Trust is no longer in a position to afford."
The zoo went on to explain that many of the animals currently residing there need specialist facilities, which may take time to find.
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"Living Coasts is part of a world-wide network of zoos and aquariums and we will be looking for homes for the animals within them once movement restrictions have been lifted," the zoo continued.
"Most of the animals kept at Living Coasts are marine species that will need specialist facilities. Living Coast is confident that good new homes for the animals will be found, but at present it is unclear how long this process may take.
"Our priority is the welfare of our animals. In the unlikely event that we cannot find housing that suits their needs, we may need to the make the difficult decision to euthanise. As things stand, we do not anticipate that this is a likely scenario."
As well as the devastating risk to the animals, 44 members of staff are now facing possible redundancy.
Since the zoo opened in 2003, it's been a hugely popular facility for both visitors and school trips, with 6,500 visits a year.
Living Coasts has also placed conservation work at the heart of everything it has achieved over the years, from surveying seagrass meadows, to conserving penguins and other seabirds in the Falkland Islands and South Africa.
The zoo explained it may be able to release some animals into the wild "subject to appropriate veterinary checks, and in accordance with the guidelines from the IUCN Reintroduction Specialist Group".
We've got everything crossed that these animals find the loving and caring homes they need.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
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