Plans to upgrade enclosures at West Midland Safari Park

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BOSSES at West Midland Safari Park hope their plans for new holiday lodges will boost revenue following major upgrades to animal enclosures.

An official planning application was submitted to Wyre Forest District Council this month and features new animal houses and eight holiday lodges for guests to stay overnight at the park.

The proposal outlines the first phase of a new vision for the park, which includes upgrades to the African elephant and cheetah enclosures to bring them in line with animal welfare standards.

New buildings would be built to accommodate a communal pen and two new pens for the park’s three elephants.

According to the plans, the current house at Elephant Valley was built in 1997 and no longer meets the minimum animal welfare requirements.

In order to comply with modern zoo practices, the park needs to hold a minimum of four cows over the age of two in order to replicate the matriarchal social system found in the wild.

The proposed cheetah house is larger than the size recommended in current guidelines, and includes separation pens and outdoor space.

At the time of the last zoo license inspection, the park’s existing cheetah house and animal management facilities were identified as needing improvement, while the current indoor space falls below the recommended size.

The application also includes plans for a new muck clamp to store and rot down animal bedding and waste, after the existing one was highlighted as an area that needs “urgent action”.

In an effort to boost revenue, six luxury holiday lodges are proposed around the elephant exhibit and two lodges around the cheetah enclosure.

The design statement reads: “As a result of the large-scale investment that is required into the provision of animal housing and infrastructure, West Midland Safari Park (WMSP) believe there is a need to drive additional revenue streams.

“It is therefore proposed to diversify the present offer and introduce lodges which will provide new and unique experiences.

“These exclusive lodges will be designed to allow guests to spend an up-close and personal night with one of our feature species.

“Such experiences have proved a great success at other Looping venues, including Zoo de la Fleche in France, where the lodges are booked up months in advance.

“The park believes the revenue generated through such activities will be important in facilitating the onward investment in WMSP.”

French owners the Looping Group, who took over the park in December, say the plans represent “the start of an exciting new future” at the park.

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