Drop in vis­i­tors led to de­ci­sion

The Galloway News - - FRONT PAGE - Stu­art Gille­spie

A strug­gling Kirkcud­bright wildlife cen­tre is to close to the pub­lic.

The own­ers of the Gal­loway Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Park made the de­ci­sion after record­ing a steady de­cline in the num­ber of vis­i­tors to the at­trac­tion.

The Den­er­ley fam­ily, who have man­aged the fa­cil­ity for 15 years, say they are “sad and dis­ap­pointed” to see it close from this week­end.

But they have pledged to work hard be­hind the scenes in a bid to see the park re-open in the fu­ture.

Cameron Den­er­ley said: “It’s not the end. We are clos­ing for a year to try to get back on our feet. The park has been open for 15 years and it has been non-stop work.

“We hope to re-open on a smaller stage next year and slowly re­de­velop from there. Some of the an­i­mals will re­main and we w will still con­tinue to do breed­ing and co con­ser­va­tion work.”

He added: “Our aim is to re-open and to work with the com­mu­nity a bit more. It has not come out of the blue, we have b been strug­gling for the past few years as th the num­ber of peo­ple vis­it­ing us has gone d down.”

The park at Lochfer­gus Plan­ta­tion has been pop­u­lar with vis­i­tors and lo­cals alike with a wide ar­ray of an­i­mals, in­clud­ing red pan­das, and meerkats.

How­ever, this Sun­day the park will open to the pub­lic for the fi­nal time.

In an emo­tional post on Face­book, Cameron’s dad John said: “We are clos­ing our doors with a mix­ture of pride and sad­ness – proud to have been able to share our love of an­i­mals with our vis­i­tors and con­trib­ute to­wards con­ser­va­tion through ed­u­ca­tion and fundrais­ing, and great sad­ness that this time has come to an end.

”We would like to thank all of the vis­i­tors over the years, some of whom we have seen visit as chil­dren and then re­turned with fam­i­lies of their own. They have shown amaz­ing sup­port and en­cour­age­ment and we have en­joyed their com­pany within the past two decades. It has been a wonderful jour­ney, we have en­joyed the ride and we hope you have too.”

The post added the park will be re­named the Gal­loway Con­ser­va­tion Cen­tre and op­er­ate as a pri­vate col­lec­tion with some of the an­i­mals be­ing re­homed.

Fam­ily unit John and Cameron Den­er­ley at the wildlife park yes­ter­day At­trac­tion A red panda at the cen­tre

Clos­ing John and Cameron Den­er­ley

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