Zoo animals in Torquay Living Coasts saved after fears they may have to be put down

Living Coasts is closing after 17 years of being open to the public. Credit: ITV West Country

Animals at Torquay's Living Coasts will no longer have to be put down after it found them all new homes just four days after announcing its closure.

The popular tourist attraction took a financial hit after closing during lockdown, and announced on 15 June that it could no longer afford to reopen.

This brought fears that some of its animals - such as penguins and other sea birds - may have to be euthanised.

Wild Planet Trust, which owns the zoo, has now announced that all animals have found new homes.

It said: "Following the announcement that Living Coasts in Torquay, Devon will not be re-opening as a visitor attraction following its closure during the current global coronavirus pandemic, Wild Planet Trust is pleased to announce that it has already found homes for its animals."

Most of the animals kept at Living Coasts are marine species needing specialist facilities. Credit: ITV West Country

Living Coasts is part of a world-wide network of zoos and aquariums, and this community has come together to re-home the animals in their specialist facilities

Wild Planet Trust

The zoo owners said moving animals to other zoos and aquariums was a complex process, so they will not be moved immediately.

Dr Kirsten Pullen, Director of Conservation and Education: “We needed to ensure that their new home is the right habitat, the right social grouping and has the right experienced staff working with them.

"There is a range of legislation we need to comply with - for example, the size of animal carrier we move them in, and what ‘permits’, ‘passports’ and health certificates they need to cross country borders.

Penguins at Living Coasts. Credit: ITV West Country

"We need to be sure the transport company is experienced and reliable, and they have all the paperwork ready for inspection. At every step, the wellbeing of our animals is key to a successful transport. In the meantime, Living Coasts staff will continue to care for the animals.”

Simon Tonge, Executive Director of Wild Planet Trust: “I am pleased, but not surprised, that we have found homes for our animals so quickly. The zoo community is very networked and mutually supportive.

"Thank you to all our members and friends for sharing your concerns and I hope you are reassured that our animals are in the best possible hands.”