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Good Season for Wildlife Park 11 November 2003

The fine weather this summer has resulted in a 5% increase in both paying visitors and overall visitor numbers at the Curraghs Wildlife Park. School visits also reached a new record with over 2,000 pupils attending in 42 school parties so far this year.

The Park's records show 38,775 paying visitors and 55,469 overall visitors - including school groups, under fives, season ticket holders and special promotions - went to the park between January and October this year. That compares with 54,137 overall visitors in the whole of last year (January-December 2002).

General Manager Nick Pinder commented:

"We have only kept detailed records since the early 1990s but visitor totals go back before that. This year's figures equate with those of the early to mid-1980s when overall holiday visits to the Island were much greater, so we're really pleased that our hard work, and the Tourism Department's recent investments, have paid off.

"The fine weather has also improved breeding results this year with a first for several species including Capybara and, of course, the Red Panda. Ironically, despite the excellent summer drying up our natural wetland habitat, the greatest improvement has been with the waterfowl where we've bred Trumpeter Swans, Madagascan Teal, Red Breasted Goose and Chiloe Wigeon either for the first time or had our best clutch."

The improved visitor figures were confirmed soon after publication of a comment by a Northern Irish travel writer nominating the Curraghs Wildlife Park as the best family attraction on the Island. Journalist David Gordon's Isle of Man features appear in various Belfast-based publications and websites, and one in Manx Tails.

Mr Eddie Lowey, MLC, Chairman of the Leisure Division overseeing the Wildlife Park, commented:

"It is gratifying that residents and holidaymakers value the Wildlife Park. I know that there have been many favourable comments this year - from the beauty of the gardens to the new animal attractions recently added to the Park. It is hoped that we can build on this to make the Wildlife Park even more attractive and educational."

The Wildlife Park has now entered its winter season and is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm. The admission price has been discounted for the winter season at £2.70 for adults, £1.80 for senior citizens and £1.35 for children with the additional attraction, bookable in advance, of traditional roast Sunday lunches available in the Park's café. Telephone 897324 to book.

Tourism Minister David Cretney added:

"The introduction of roast Sunday lunches is a first for the Wildlife Park and we are optimistic people will take the opportunity to combine a great family day out with a meal at the park. And that could hopefully result in us maintaining the excellent visitor figures for the rest of 2003."

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