Wild Planet Trust, the charity that runs Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts in Torquay and Newquay Zoo in Cornwall, has decided to close its zoos to the public because of the COVID-19 virus.
Executive Director Simon Tonge said: “Our Senior Management Team has been meeting every day to discuss how we respond to this rapidly-changing crisis. We had hoped we could carry on, but taking into account the latest Government advice on social distancing and the decisions taken by other zoos, botanic gardens and leisure parks, we have decided to close our zoos. It’s the responsible thing to do. This decision is open ended – we have no idea how long the zoos will remain shut.”
The charity’s priority now is to make sure animals, staff and volunteers are all taken care of during this difficult time. The move means that all animal encounters, zoo events and Education work have been suspended. Our volunteering programme has also been suspended and we are not able to take up any offers of volunteer support at this time. Anyone with queries should refer to the Frequently Asked Questions Updates page on the specific zoo websites.
“Our dedicated keepers, vets and other key staff will carry on caring for our amazing animals and plants. Thank you to everyone involved in the Trust – these are difficult times – please be patient and stay safe.”
Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling added: “Wild Planet Trust relies on guests, Annual Pass holders, local businesses, donors and partners. I hope everyone can stay safe and well - we look forward to welcoming everyone back when we open again.”