Living Coasts has become the first tourist attraction in Torbay to become a victim of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Penguins at Living Coasts Photo: GinaFranchiPenguins at Living Coasts Photo: GinaFranchi

Wild Planet Trust has announced that it will not be re-opening Living Coasts as a visitor attraction following its closure during the current global coronavirus pandemic.

Falling visitor numbers and the forced closure of all its zoos due to Covid-19 has meant that the trust has had to look at its cost base and make efficiencies.

After almost 20 years of operation, the site also needed substantial maintenance that the trust is no longer in a position to afford.

The next stage is to find homes for the animals.

Living Coasts is part of a worldwide network of zoos and aquariums and the trust will be looking for homes for the animals within them once movement restrictions have been lifted.

Most of the animals kept at Living Coasts are marine species that will need specialist facilities.

Living Coasts is confident that good new homes for the animals will be found, but at present it is unclear how long this process may take.

All 44 staff at Living Coasts have been placed at risk of redundancy.

This will be considered within the context of the wider restructuring of the trust’s zoos, and potential redundancies at their other sites at Paignton Zoo and Newquay Zoo.

A trust spokesman said: “Wild Planet Trust would like to thank the many people who have visited and supported Living Coasts over the years, and the many businesses, and grant giving trusts which have support our vital conservation work.”