Coffs Harbour Zoo keeper Tanya Watts with Baby the koala and her five months old joey. There are only three days left to visit
Coffs Harbour Zoo keeper Tanya Watts with Baby the koala and her five months old joey. There are only three days left to visit

Zoo closure shock to staff and volunteers



COFFS Harbour Zoo will close on Monday.

The closure will see 10 staff lose their jobs and will also affect about 70 volunteers who help out at the Moonee animal park.

Coffs Harbour Zoo project manager Troy Saville said he was not advised of the closure until late yesterday. The news is a shock to local zoo staff, who were expecting a major renovation of the animal park to begin next week.

"There are a whole heap of people this will affect and I haven't digested it yet," Mr Saville said.

There have been persistent rumours that the zoo had been sold, but Mr Saville said he had received no information on any sale.

He said the Japanese owners, Mr Shinichi Otani and Mr Taketo Kurosawa, would make a public announcement today through their Australian solicitor.

Mr Saville said many of the Zoo's animals were registered to participate in species management programs, so would be moved to other zoos in the program.

The zoo's echidnas were donated to the Currumbin wildlife sanctuary last year and Mr Saville said it was likely the koalas would also move to Currumbin.

Mr Saville said there were contingency plans in place for the closure of animal parks.

Coffs Harbour Zoo, one of the areas earliest tourist attractions, was opened by Rob and Aileen Mutton in 1967 as Kumbaingeri, but has struggled in recent years to remain profitable.

One group of overseas visitors in town this week nominated the zoo as their favourite attraction because they were able to touch the Australian animals. The zoo does daily koala presentations.



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