Coronavirus: Dozens of jobs at risk at Paignton and Newquay zoos

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PenguinsImage source, Living Coasts
Image caption,
The trust previously announced Living Coasts in Torquay would not reopen after lockdown

Dozens of jobs are at risk at two zoos due to the impact of the pandemic, bosses have announced.

Wild Planet Trust, which owns Paignton and Newquay Zoos, said 46 employees were at risk of redundancy.

It said social distancing meant it was getting "well below the number of guests we would usually expect to see at this time of year".

The trust previously announced that its Living Coasts zoo in Torquay was not reopening, with 44 jobs at risk.

Wild Planet Trust executive director Simon Tonge said jobs in "every part of the organisation", including animal-keepers, were at risk at the Paignton and Newquay sites.

He said: "The key thing that we've tried to do is to ensure that although we've had to make those kind of reductions, animal care will not suffer, and so that's a fine balance.

"It might mean that we have to think about some species that we can keep in the future, and some we can't."

Image source, Creative Commons
Image caption,
Paignton Zoo will have to decide what species it can continue to look after in the future

The trust said it ideally needed to increase guest capacity during the pandemic, "however, this needs to be carefully balanced to ensure that we meet social distancing guidelines".

It said while "all bookable time slots usually sell out each day", it did not make-up for the lost summer season figures.

The trust said autumn and winter "are still a worry", adding: "We really need the support of our local communities."

Mr Tonge urged visitors to help out by spending their money in the attractions' cafes and shops.

"We're going to get ourselves out of this, and the way we do that is hopefully by providing a wonderful offer to people," he said.