It’s lost more than €1m in income.
But now fans of Fota Wildlife Park are rowing in to help keep the popular attraction open after it was revealed that the cost of feeding the park’s 135 species runs to approximately €35,000 a month.
Fota is completely self-financing, relying on gate receipts, membership fees, retail sales and animal sponsorships to stay open. This week, park director Sean McKeown warned that the 100-acre facility, closed since January 8th, may have to close permanently unless visitor restrictions are lifted by September.
“The running costs at Fota are approximately €380,000 a month and it is a simple fact of life that if we have the continued prospect of no income and possible future Covid restrictions that would keep the Park closed until after the summer season, then closure may be a real possibility,” McKeown said.
“However, we would like to stress that this would be a worst-case scenario.”
Reacting to the news, Cork Fota fan Chelsea Sheehan decided to set up a GoFundMe campaign to help out.
So far, 214 generous animal lovers have donated a whopping €6,682, bringing the effort well within reach of its €10,000 target. Another €10,000 has been donated directly via the Fota Wildlife Park website.
“I am absolutely heartbroken to read from a few articles that Fota Wildlife park may have to close permanently if they do not open soon.” Chelsea posted.
“Fota has always been a family orientated day out and never fails to put a smile on my face and since I haven’t seen any fundraisers for this cause, I am setting up one in hopes to help in some way, every little helps right?”