Perthshire wildlife park gears up for otterly brilliant summer under new ownership

A wildlife park in Perthshire is gearing up for a busy summer after a recent ownership transition.

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A wildlife park in Perthshire is gearing up for a busy summer after a recent ownership transition.

Auchingarrich Wildlife Park, based in Crieff, is home to over 70 different species of animals. The park first opened in 2009 and features a number of exotic animals including ruffed necked lemurs and meerkats, alongside a host of wild cats and other furry friends.

The wildlife park was recently acquired by London-based Star International Enterprises, managed by Rob Matthews. Since the takeover towards the end of April, the park has already welcomed huge numbers of visitors.

Over the coming months, the business has ambitions to transform the centre’s offering and initiate a series of wildlife conservation initiatives to develop the park and its surroundings.

To help boost animal numbers in Scotland, the business is engaging in a variety of conservation programmes in association with the Highland Wildlife Centre. These include conservation initiatives for lemurs, wild cats and other animals at the park.

In addition to this, the Auchingarrich team has plans to grow the number of beehives at the park from two to four and develop and expand the current animal closures to provide larger, natural habitats for the animals.

To enhance the visitor experience at Auchingarrich Wildlife Park, the new ownership team plan to introduce new interactive learning facilities around the park for children to learn about the animals and their habitats, while the business also plans to expand the park’s café and transform it into a licensed restaurant.

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With these ambitious goals in place, the business is looking to recruit new staff to help it manage its expansion and offer a better experience for visitors, including a new zoo manager and chef. This recruitment campaign will complement the business’ internal development programme, which has seen animal keepers promoted to positions including deputy zoo manager and marketing manager

Star International Entreprises’ acquisition of Auchingarrich Wildlife Park was assisted through a funding package from Bank of Scotland.

Rob Matthews, director of Auchingarrich Wildlife Park, said: “We’ve had ambitions to acquire a wildlife park for many years now. When we saw Auchingarrich Wildlife Park was being put up for sale, we knew this would be a perfect opportunity to realise our ambitions.

“We knew the attraction was well loved by the local community, but we also knew that it had so much untapped potential. We have immediately began exploring options to upgrade the wildlife park and embark on conservation initiatives to help boost our animal numbers – steps we feel will make a huge difference to the local area.

“We couldn’t have achieved our ambitions without Moira Robertson and the Bank of Scotland team. With their help, our takeover ran incredibly smoothly and we’ve been able to hit the ground running, generating almost £20,000 more over our first two weeks than expected.”

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Moira Robertson, relationship manager at Bank of Scotland, said: “The last State of Nature Scotland report found that almost half of all species in Scotland have decreased in the five decades.

“Conservation schemes in Scotland are therefore extremely necessary to safeguard our wonderful wildlife, and it is fantastic to see Auchingarrich Wildlife Park commit to a number of schemes and programmes to boost the park’s animal numbers.

“In addition to this, the business’ recruitment drive and internal progression system will provide a huge boost for the local area. We’re proud to have supported the business achieve its ambitions and will continue to remain by its side through the coming months and years.”

Peter Donlon, director of Global Member Development at Species360, said: “We are delighted to welcome Auchingarrich Wildlife Park as a new member to our global network of more than 1,200 progressive zoos, aquariums, wildlife refuges and sanctuaries around the world.

“As a Species360 member, the wildlife park will use the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) to manage their husbandry, medical and studbook activities for the animals in its care. 

“Healthier animal collections lead directly to improved visitor satisfaction, animal welfare and species conservation outcomes and Auchingarrich will also be able to expand its animal collection by working together with other Species360 members over the coming months.”

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