BY THEREDNOW STAFF
A UK zoo that permanently closed down has announced that new homes have been found for all its animals – despite initial fears that some would have to be euthanised.
The Wild Planet Trust said earlier this week that it would not be reopening its Living Coasts site because they found it impossible to manage the substantial maintenance costs incurred during the coronavirus lockdown.
According to The Mirror, during a Q&A the zoo revealed that if suitable homes could not be found then some of the animals might be put to sleep.
A spokesperson for the zoo had said: “In the unlikely event that we cannot find housing that suits their needs, we may need to the make the difficult decision to euthanise.”
Now, a new statement from the trust reads: “Following the announcement on Monday that Living Coasts in Torquay, Devon will not be re-opening as a visitor attraction following its closure during the current global coronavirus pandemic, Wild Planet Trust is pleased to announce that it has already found homes for its animals.
“Living Coasts is part of a world-wide network of zoos and aquariums, and this community has come together to re-home the animals in their specialist facilities.
“The animals will not be moved immediately as moving animals to other zoos and aquariums is a complex process.”
Dr Kirsten Pullen, Director of Conservation & Education, said: “We needed to ensure that their new home is the right habitat, the right social grouping and has the right experienced staff working with them.
“There is a range of legislation we need to comply with – for example, the size of animal carrier we move them in, and what permits, passports and health certificates they need to cross country borders.
“We need to be sure the transport company is experienced and reliable, and they have all the paperwork ready for inspection. At every step, the well-being of our animals is key to a successful transport. In the meantime, Living Coasts staff will continue to care for the animals.”
Simon Tonge, Executive Director of Wild Planet Trust, added: “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.”
When Living Coasts announced the closure of the site, the zoo explained that 44 members of staff were at risk of redundancy.
In a statement on the official website, a spokesperson for Living Coasts said: “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.”