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Record-breaking year for Ireland’s zoos

chinese dragon Dublin Zoo Ireland

Newly released figures show 1.5 million people flocked to Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park in the last year.

Two major wildlife attractions have benefitted from Ireland’s love of animals.  Both Dublin Zoo and County Cork’s Fota Wildlife Park saw large increases in visitor numbers in 2016, reports the Herald.

A record 1.1 million people came to Dublin Zoo in the capital’s Phoenix Park last year.  It was the sixth consecutive year that visitor numbers at Dublin Zoo have broken the million mark.

Meanwhile Fota saw its attendance increase by six per cent to more than 465,000.

Gate receipts from the two attractions came to nearly €12.6m, which represents an increase of just over six per cent in comparison to 2015.

The two attractions are both owned and operated by the Zoological Society of Ireland.  The Society made a surplus of €2.8m during 2016.  It has accumulated reserves of almost €18.4m. According to accounts just filed to the Companies Office, the two attractions enjoyed a combined revenue of almost €19.4m.

Outside of gate receipts, an extra €2.6m was created from the sale of annual passes and membership fees.  Income generated by gift shops at the two zoos was also on the up, increasing by 2.4 per cent to €2.6m last year.

As well as being Ireland’s largest family attraction, Dublin Zoo also supports a wide range of conservation and research projects.  These include the EAZA Ape Campaign, the Snow Leopard Trust and the Thailand Hornbill Project, amongst many other overseas initiatives.  Meanwhile, in Ireland, they support projects aimed at conserving native animals such as the chough, the Red Grouse and the Smooth Newt.

Fota Wildlife Park spreads over 100 acres of land on Fota Island, near Carrigtwohill.  It is the second-largest visitor attraction in Ireland outside of Leinster.  At present it is adding a 27-acre development focusing on Asian animals and plants.

Image courtesy of Dublin Zoo.

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