Construction begins on ambitious €5 million Fota Wildlife Park conservation and visitation project

Construction is due to start next month on a new €5million ‘Education, Conservation and Research Centre’ at Fota Wildlife Park in County Cork and is expected to be completed to coincide next year with the 40th anniversary of the opening of the park.

The new facility will be created in one of the old gateway buildings that many of a certain generation will fondly remember when the park opened, with only a few species compared to the variety it has today.

Fota Wildlife Park director Sean McKeown said management hopes the new center will attract around 30,000 outgoing and junior students each year, instilling knowledge in future generations about the vital need for increased wildlife sustainability. diverse on the planet.

“There are a million endangered species in the wild,” Mr McKeown said.

The park has been at the forefront of protecting and improving breeding for some of the world’s most endangered species, shipping many creatures to other zoos to mate and releasing more into areas where they have virtually disappeared.

The wildlife park is currently preparing to send a female Sumatran tiger to the West Midlands Safari Park for breeding and hopes to obtain a replacement male Asiatic lion shortly for the one who sadly died of kidney failure. This lion species is also endangered in the wild.

Gita one of the Asian lions of the animal park of Fota. The animal park hopes to soon obtain a replacement male Asiatic lion for the one who unfortunately died of kidney failure. Photo: Eddie O’Hare

Mr McKeown said the park hopes to add Asiatic bears to its animal collection. In addition, he also seeks to bring in bongos or sable antelopes. It currently has more than 120 species.

“A new home is also planned for Siamang gibbons, native to Malaysia and Sumatra,” Mr McKeown said.

Plans for the park also include a new restaurant and indoor interpretive center, which are expected to be built in 2024/2025.

Black and white gibbons at the animal park of Fota.  Photo: Eddie O’Hare
Black and white gibbons at the animal park of Fota. Photo: Eddie O’Hare

Current dining facilities are limited and inadequate for attendance. The new dining hall, which will seat approximately 600 people, will be built over the tiger enclosure and the proposed Asiatic bear enclosure.

The restaurant will be on the first floor and below will be an area called the “Origins Project” which will be an interpretive center detailing the post-glacial settlement of ancient wildlife, such as the giant Irish deer.

It will also include some details about a recent archaeological dig at the animal park which unearthed a human settlement dating back to the 7th century.

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