Fears that coronavirus lockdown could force popular Midlands zoo to close for good
A popular zoo near Wolverhampton could be forced to shut its doors permanently due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Wild zoological park, in Bobbington, near Wombourne, is appealing to the public for donations as its faced with closure. A fundraising page set up by a volunteer to help has raised £2,000 but that is not enough to keep the park going for long.
The zoo relies solely on public money, and due to the lockdown preventing visitors, bosses have said it is financially struggling.
Zac Hollinshead, director and owner of Wild zoological park, said if the situation does not improve over the summer months then the zoo may be forced to close its doors indefinitely.
He said: “Some of our staff are on furlough, so we are surviving with a basic skeleton of staff, as we still need to run the zoo and take care of the animals.
“It costs between £10,000 to £15,000 a month to run the zoo, and with no visitors we are struggling to meet that. We are not eligible for the larger grant funding of £25,000 as we are a smaller business.
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“The smaller grant of £10,000 will only support us for a month due to running costs, and we are still waiting on confirmation from the local authority on this. If we are still in lockdown over the summer months, which is meant to be our busiest period, then we will be forced to close regardless of whether we get the grant or not.
“We have around 300 animals here at the park, which are mostly rescued, and if we are forced to close indefinitely then they will have to be rehomed to zoos who have survived this.
“We are clinging on by our fingertips here, even struggling to pay for our next lot of animal food.”
The zoo has been open for four years and holds the title for the biggest bird show in the country.
It has daily wildlife shows and many immersive walk-through experiences.
Sarah Robinson, a volunteer at the zoo has set up a gofundme page for the well-loved attraction which has so far raised more than £2,800.
She said: “My heart was always with animals and I was lucky enough to become a volunteer at Wild. I love all the staff and I am worried about the future of all the beautiful animals in this current crisis as crowdfunding is our only option.”
To donate or for any more information visit gofundme.com/f/rescue-local-zoo-covid19
By Lucy Jones
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