A fundraiser has started for Fota wildlife park amid fears they could close permanently

A fundraiser has been launched to help support Fota Wildlife Park after warnings they will face permanent closure if they don’t reopen soon.

Earlier this week we told you that the park director had expressed his fears for the future and warned that they could close permanently if they did not welcome visitors again soon.

Sean McKeown told RTE News they hope to reopen the park soon, but all plans are dependent on the number of covid cases.

The European bison was extinct in the wild but has recently been reintroduced to the mountain ranges of Poland and Romania as part of a collective conservation effort by many European zoos and animal parks, including Animal Park of Fota.

When news of Sean’s concerns broke, fans at the park expressed concern over the closure of the iconic attraction.

Now, a concerned visitor has started a fundraising page to help support the park in any way possible.

The organizer said “Like many people, I am heartbroken to read a few articles that Fota Wildlife Park may have to close permanently if it does not open soon.

“Fota has always been a family oriented day and never fails to put a smile on my face and as I haven’t seen any fundraisers for this cause I am hosting one in hopes of helping in some way or another, every little bit helps?”

Thanks to government funding of one million euros the park has survived so far and this money will help the park until the end of May/beginning of June, but Sean told RTE News that he hopes they will have visitors by then.

“I hope by then we will be open and we will have visitors again and we will bring in income.

One of Fota’s two red panda cubs

“If we don’t open until September, for example, we face the real prospect of closure, so that’s something we don’t want to happen and that’s why we’re looking forward to opening and keep visitors coming back here..

“The sooner we reopen, the better our chances of survival.”

The park saw a significant drop in visitor numbers last year due to travel restrictions, from 462,000 visitors in 2019 to 385,000 last year.

You can donate on the fundraising page here or you can also donate to the park directly on their website.

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