Profits at Fota Wildlife Park roar ahead as visitor numbers rise

Surplus of €730,000 recorded at Cork wildlife charity

Sumatran tiger cub   born in  May  to mother Dourga and father Denar at  Fota Wildlife Park. Photograph:  Darragh Kane

Sumatran tiger cub born in May to mother Dourga and father Denar at Fota Wildlife Park. Photograph: Darragh Kane

 

Fota Wildlife Park recorded a surplus of more than €730,000 last year as visitor numbers rose, according to the latest figures.

The park on Fota Island in Cork Harbour had 465,281 visitors in 2016, 7 per cent more than the 430,000 for which the charity budgeted.

Income from its operations and retail businesses was €4.3 million, and the public donated €24,000 to its collection boxes.

The park, which operates as a charity, earned a final surplus for the year of €734,092, ahead of the comparable figure for 2015, which was €686,204.

Earlier this year, Fota announced that a rare Sumatran tiger cub had been born at the park.

The Sumatran tiger is an Indonesian sub-species regarded as endangered with only an estimated 300-500 left in the wild.

Fota supports work to save the tiger and in 2016 contributed €25,000 to aid the work of a group, 21st Century Tiger, in Kerinci Seblat, an Indonesian national park on the island of Sumatra and a critical habitat for the sub-species.

According to its report, Fota last year signed a three-year memorandum of understanding with Flora & Fauna International (FFI) to fund the training, equipment and salaries of two community conservation teams in Vietnam working to protect the black-crested gibbon and Tonkin snub-nosed monkey.

FFI is a conservation organisation that works in around 40 countries worldwide.

Fota Wildlife Park supports various field conservation projects around the world and postgraduate studies on species under its care.

The charity’s report, filed recently with the Companies’ Registration Office, states that there has been sustained growth in visitor numbers from 440,000 in 2014, when it first opened its Asian sanctuary to the public.

The sanctuary was a 27-acre expansion designed to house a range of species, including the Sumatran tiger.