A coastal zoo has just announced that it is to close its doors for good. Living Coasts, located in Torquay, released a statement blaming the closure on 'falling visitor numbers' prior to lockdown as well as the effects of the forced closure of all zoos due to COVID-19. The site is owned by the Wild Planet Trust, which also owns Paignton Zoo and Newquay Zoo.

The zoo is currently in the process of rehoming their animals within the 'world-wide network of zoos and aquariums,' although is currently unable to state how long this process will take.

Conservation Con

Tellingly, the zoo has stated that most of its animals will not be able to be released into the wild 'without an unprecedented and substantial period of re-training'. This statement contradicts claims by the zoo and aquarium industry that such centres provide a surplus of animals to repopulate species at risk of extinction in their natural habitat, providing further evidence that public entertainment is the real reason for keeping these animals captive. In the list of achievements of the 20 years since it opened, there is no mention of any repopulation of wild species by Living Coasts.

Amongst the species held at Living Coasts are South American fur seals, pied avocets, red billed choughs, pigeon guillemots and tufted puffins - all classed as 'least concern' by on IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Freedom for Animals' Director, Sam Threadgill, commented:

Let us hope that the closure of Living Coasts is the first step towards a complete phasing out of zoos and a transition to a society where animals are not 'exhibits' to be held captive and gawped at, but fellow inhabitants of the earth who are respected and conserved in their natural habitats.