Fota Wildlife Park welcomes reopening date after 'very worrying' time

Fota Wildlife Park welcomes reopening date after 'very worrying' time

The director of Fota Wildlife Park has welcomed the news that the park can reopen in late April under the phased easing of some restrictions announced by the Government. Picture Denis Minihane.

The director of Fota Wildlife Park has welcomed the news that the park can reopen in late April under the phased easing of some restrictions announced by the Government.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced on Tuesday that from April 26, subject to the prevailing public health situation, outdoor visitor attractions can reopen, as well as outdoor sports facilities including golf courses and tennis courts.

Speaking to The Echo, Director of Fota Wildlife Park, Seán McKeown, said that he is “absolutely delighted to hear that zoos and heritage parks and of course Fota Wildlife Park can reopen from April 26”.

He said, however, that he is disappointed that they cannot open at an earlier date given that the park is a 100-acre outdoor attraction with the ability to strictly limit numbers.

With our pre-booking online system, we are well set up to manage the park during the Covid pandemic as we have shown in the past year when we were open May 20, 2020, to January 8, 2021.

"Our new visiting protocols will have no indoor areas open to the public and the layout is organised as a one-way directional walking route,” he said.

Fiona Walsh, animal ranger, primate section, with Lar Gibbons in the backround at Fota Wildlife Park. Picture Denis Minihane.
Fiona Walsh, animal ranger, primate section, with Lar Gibbons in the backround at Fota Wildlife Park. Picture Denis Minihane.

Mr McKeown said that as a conservation charity, 95% of the park’s operating income comes from its visitors in gate receipts, annual pass sales and gift shop revenues, which has made the last few months “very worrying” but that he is now “thrilled” to have a date for reopening.

We are all thrilled in Fota Wildlife Park to have an opening date and a plan in sight for the full reopening of the Wildlife Park by July and the possibility of many staycation visitors coming to the Park.

“Also, a very special word of thanks must go out to the amazing public generosity and messages of support in response to the recent media interviews. 

"We are extremely grateful to all of those who donated via the website and pledged support through their own fundraising initiatives,” he said.

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