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Wildlife park review considers self-sufficiency

BBC News logo BBC News 5/19/2022
The park in Ballaugh has been open since 1963 © BBC The park in Ballaugh has been open since 1963

A review of the Isle of Man's only zoo, which begins next month, will consider ways to make it more self-sufficient.

The Curraghs Wildlife Park, which was established in 1963, is home to more than 60 species of birds and animals, many of which are endangered.

The government-owned facility receives an annual grant of about £500,000.

Environment, Food and Agriculture Minister Clare Barber said a review would "explore all our options" for making the park more sustainable.

"The review will help us to establish a set of strategic objectives that are affordable and achievable in the long-term," she added.

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A spokesman for the government said the review would "set out a range of options to develop the park economically, so it can become less dependent on the department's budget".

A consultant would "work with key stakeholders and research other zoos, with similar constraints, before producing a range of fully-costed recommendations and potential opportunities for the next 25 years", he added.

The Ballaugh park, which also features children's play areas, a café and community education spaces, contributes to international breeding programmes for rare and endangered animals and birds, including red pandas, Humboldt penguins and silvery gibbons.

As part of its accreditation to both the British and Irish association of Zoos and Aquaria and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria the park has to meet specific standards for animal welfare and visitor facilities.

The review is expected to be completed by September.

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