ZOO bosses have hit out at a lack of financial support from the Government as coronavirus support grants for the parks are found to be inaccessible.

Lake District Wildlife Park Richard Robinson has hit out at Westminster for an apparent lack of support during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: "They’re expecting you to be 12 weeks away from closure.

"If you’re 12 weeks away from closure, with animals, your basically done for.”

Those involved in the wildlife park industry are lobbying the Government to make the financial support promised available.

Mr Robinson added that although hospitality workers from the park can be furloughed during lockdown restrictions, zoo keepers cannot, the park must keep operating without the income of visitors.

He said: “We’re lobbying Parliament at the minute to try and make the funding they’ve supposedly got for us, actually available.”

Although lockdown is a period of financial hardship, the park will not take as a big a hit as in the summer months.

“Looking at the positive side of things, November is the quietest time of year,” said Mr Robinson

But work is busier than ever for keepers.

Mr Robinson said: “The people in reception and the tea rooms are on furlough but on the park side of things, the animals still need looking after. We’re actually making preparations for Easter.”

Bosses at Knowsley Safari Park this week criticised the Government for contradictions in lockdown rules as other public spaces are allowed to remain open.

Conservative MP Mark Jenkinson said: “I’m on the APG for zoos and aquariums. I have spoken on many occasions to the park’s owners. I’m sympathetic to their concerns and the APG is lobbying to address them.”

Lake District Wildlife Park is part of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums which is lobbying to make support more freely available.

Mr Robinson said: “They do a lot of conservation work, a lot of good work that isn’t just about showing captive animals to the public. I think we in the Government need to recognise that. The second lockdown for a lot of sectors will be harder than the first. It’s not a position any of us want to be in.” He added: “It is a hardship fund. There are other support schemes they can access.”