A Cumbrian wildlife park is asking for people’s support to help it to stay afloat.
Lake District Wildlife Park at Bassenthwaite, says it is in drastic need of help to avoid the risk of closure and being unable to feed the park’s animals.
It has been crippled by the coronavirus pandemic and has launched a £10,000 crowdfunding campaign in a bid to survive.
Richard Robinson, park manager, said: “Now more than ever we need to support the welfare of our animals to prevent further devastation from the pandemic.
“The smallest donations add up to make a real difference for the park, so we’re kindly asking the public to help our where they can and help our beautiful species survive these worrying times.”
A spokesman said: “Today, many of our animals are fighting for survival at the hands of the pandemic.
“With sudden park closures eliminating the funding for food, supplements and veterinary care, the park’s animals, resources and hardworking team have been placed under extreme duress.
“Sadly, the animal welfare sector remains in a state of crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of available support.
“Without vital donations, many of these services and their stunning species will be permanently lost.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely difficult for many of us and created unprecedented circumstances for many businesses.
“As a wildlife park our business is all about caring for animals and helping to conserve species for future generations.
“The running costs of a wildlife park are very high.
“Whilst our amazing team of keepers are working hard every day to ensure that our animals continue to receive the highest level of care, support and comfort, we still have to cover the cost of the feeding them, ongoing veterinary requirements, heating, cleaning and maintenance costs – which run into thousands of pounds each week.
“Unlike other leisure businesses, we cannot furlough all of our staff due to the enormous amount of care the animals need on a daily basis.
“We received some amazing support last year from all our visitors and annual pass holders.
“The income for our business is generated from this support. We can’t thank you enough! However, with bills to pay and no people coming through the doors we are asking you to help in any way you can. Even a small amount can help to look after one of our lemurs!”
The park houses a number of endangered animals, including red pandas Mei Li and Charu, who are a breeding pair.
It is thought there are only around 2,500 red pandas left in the wild and the park continues to support the Red Panda Network with the work it is doing to conserve their habitat and protect the species.
The park occupies 24 acres and is home to over 100 animals.
On average, it attracts around 50,000 average visitors per year.
Visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/our-animals-conservation-in-the-lakes-need-you to donate to the fund.