Animals from zoo closed due to coronavirus rehomed amid fears they would be euthanised

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Marine species at the Living Coasts zoo have been saved from being euthanised after the facility said it would permanently close due to a loss of revenue during the COVID-19 lockdown. (SWNS)

Animals at a zoo that has permanently closed due to coronavirus will be relocated to new homes amid fears they would have to be euthanised.

Earlier this week Living Coasts zoo in Torquay, Devon, announced it would close down following the COVID-19 outbreak, leaving the future of the animals at the attraction in doubt.

Zoos were given the green light to open again from Monday since shutting in March, with staff still needed at the sites to tend to the animals.

Several zoos, including Living Coasts, said they were “hanging in the balance” as a loss of revenue through ticket sales meant they were unable to afford upkeep and maintenance of animals and facilities.

Several aquariums and zoos have come together to find homes for the marine species housed at Living Coasts. (SWNS)

On Friday morning it was announced that several aquariums and zoos had come together to find new homes for the marine species at Living Coasts.

Read more: Queues outside major shops and crowds flock to zoos as England eases lockdown

Simon Tonge, Executive Director of Wild Planet Trust, which runs the tourist attraction, said: “I am pleased, but not surprised, that we have found homes for our animals so quickly.

"The zoo community is very networked and mutually supportive.

“Thank you to all our members and friends for sharing your concerns and I hope you are reassured that our animals are in the best possible hands.”

The process will be staggered over a process of months, as rehousing marine wildlife is a complex process.

Read more: Boris Johnson to announce zoos can reopen in latest easing of lockdown

A statement announcing the closure of the zoo earlier this week said: "It is with regret that Wild Planet Trust has to announce that it will not be reopening 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.

Read more: Coronavirus: British zoos 'at risk of extinction' after being told to remain closed

"After nearly 20 years of operation the site also needed substantial maintenance that the Trust is no longer in a position to afford.

All 44 members of its staff had now been placed at risk of redundancy

A spokesperson from Wild Planet Trust said: "Conservation is fundamentally about people and the value that we all place on nature and the world around us.

Living Coasts will be reopen after being unable to manage"substantial maintenance" costs during lockdown - with all 44 members of staff made redundant. (SWNS)

"We hope that many of these initiatives may be continued in the future from our other sites.

"The issues we have attempted to tackle have not gone away, and the need to inspire and involve people from all walks of life with their solutions, has never been greater.

"Our reach has been global; from surveying Torbay’s very own seagrass meadows, to conserving penguins and other seabirds in the Falkland Islands and South Africa."

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