Wildlife Park closes its doors for the last time

Having been open to the public for 44 years, the decision to close Seaview Wildlife Encounter must have been a very difficult one for the owners of this award-winning and well-loved wildlife park to make.

Dippy seaview wildlife encounter

Seaview Wildlife Encounter has announced that today was the last day they opened their doors to the public.

We’d heard during the week this might be on the cards, but didn’t think it was happening this quickly.

“Intense legislation”
The award-winning wildlife park say the “seasonal nature of the business combined with intense legislation and regulation” have led to the decision to close the park which has been open to the public for 44 years.

A message posted by Dippy the penguin on Facebook tonight reads.

Dear FB friends…. It is with great sadness and regret that the family have decided after 44 years of being open to the public that an extremely difficult decision has been made to close the park.

This is due to many internal and external factors – the seasonal nature of the business combined with intense legislation and regulation that we believe will only increase in the future. We hope that you will understand that it is time now for the family to bow out gently and to thank all of our wonderful visitors for their support over the years.

A huge thanks to our amazing team – without you we could not have continued to have kept our beautiful park to the standard that it was today on our last day of being open. Please be assured that all the birds and animals will be top priority and the best possible homes will be sourced for them and of course the wonderful Dippy who we will endeavour to find the best retirement home for.

We hope that we leave you with many happy memories and the family wish you all the very best for the future….

Fans share their memories
Condolences have been pouring into the Facebook Page for the park, as people share their memories.

The park was home to a wide range of birds and animals including Meerkats, Flamingos, Penguins, Wallabies and many more.

Our thoughts are with all those who work at the Park. The decision to close must have been a very hard one for the owners to make.

Thanks to Linda Bassett from Isle of Wight Community Information Facebook Page for the headsup.

Image: © Seaview Wildlife Encounter

Sunday, 1st November, 2015 7:51pm

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Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Seaview, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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34 Comments on "Wildlife Park closes its doors for the last time"

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Mrs Retired Hack

Such a pity. We had a lovely trip there, with some young visitors to the island , only last year. Sorry to see it close.

Vix Lowthion

So very sad about this. Seaview Wildlife is a highly popular park with excellent visitor feedback. Really feel for the people who have lost their jobs.

A huge loss for the island. Less than a month after Colesmans Farm closed its doors, another animal attraction has gone.

What legislation is this which is so prohibitive ? Maybe that’s a better question to ask in the House…

Jeff

Vix. Was it really necessary to add that last paragraph. This is one of the times where you don’t need to add a political statement.

I.Reader

Fair comment by Vix, as explained. We know MP Tigger likes to deal with the subject of Island animal attractions in Parliament, so even if, as suggested, his friends in government are responsible in part for the park sadly closing he should be able to tell us more.

Vix Lowthion
? It’s in the statement from the park owners – “the seasonal nature of the business combined with intense legislation and regulation that we believe will only increase in the future.” I believe this was also cited by Colemans at the time. What is this legislation and why is it closing our animal attractions? With 2 closing within weeks of each other we need to know what… Read more »
Vix Lowthion

(And you aren’t to know that in the last 2 hours I’ve already posted elsewhere photos of my family feeding the animals, how my middle son has cried at the news, and my concern for the owners and workers. I guess I see OTW as the place for discussion about how to make the island better as a whole, not where I share personal family stuff)

Ed
Jeff is right though. You just try too hard to make a political point out of every story. To some aspiring politicians, every aspect of everything that goes on on our island is an opportunity to try and score a political point. That’s where politicians turn many people off. We just get fed up with everything twist and turn in life being used for political point scoring.… Read more »
Vix Lowthion
I did reflect on the wider context and implications of this sad news – that’s just what hit me. How can we stop this happening to other island tourist attractions? We need to pre-empt difficulties before they happen. I’m sorry if this seems ‘political’. It’s actually just practical and trying to learn from this, as well as say how much the island will miss Flamingo Park. One… Read more »
Mambo
Businesses in general are feeling the pinch from increasing legislation. Employers now have to provide workplace pensions, they’ll soon have to pay a living wage, and there is all sorts of industry specific legislation that has been brought in, much of it by the EU, which is designed to protect employees, and I’m sure, animals. All these things are absolutely fantastic, of course, except when they leave… Read more »
MRS BOOKWORM

So sad to read this – it was a truly special place. My family have spent many wonderful hours birdseed in hand there and we will miss the birds, animals and the friendly staff. Another great attraction lost to the Island ……. how many more can we afford to lose?

The Sciolist

What is our Mp Andrew Turner doing about this, I think he should be asking questions in the House? Legislation, often EU rules are strangling our businesses.

I.Reader

We know Tigger takes an interest in the subject of Island animal attractions; perhaps he could now do something to stop RF strangling our East Cowes businesses.

Barbara Penman
Visited Sandown Zoo today, great improvements especially for beautiful Narla the lioness. Charlotte Corney was there and on speaking to her about her recent trip and the work that is needed in importing and looking after animals which have either been born in captivity orrescued from a life of cruelty, with the amount of red tape, rules, regulations and expense is it any wonder that these places… Read more »
Sue McLagan

This is where the IW Council could step in and assist – obviously now plenty of money to take poor Seaview residents to the High Court over taking kids on holiday …. what about supporting Tourism – that is what the Island is built on :-) Very sad that regulation have become too much and the Park is closing :(

sam salt

The IWC should assist you are right, tourism is the one thing that keeps this Island going but it there anyone at the IWC left with any knowledge of how to assist? (BTW the “poor Seaview resident” is nothing of the sort. The resident in question lives in Nettlestone, hardly Seaview darling and he is not poor by Island standards).

Tanja Rebel
Sciolist, you are right! Lets get rid of all strangling legislation – especially environmental regulations – business knows best. Why not let it expand as much as it likes, take as much as it likes and pollute as much as it likes – a bit like Red Funnel? Of course, none of them would do this, for they all have the best of humans, animals and planet… Read more »
The Sciolist

Do you Now or have you ever run a business Tanya? Do you work in the public sector?

Tanja Rebel
To Sciolist: No, I have never run a business, but if I did it would be one that only deals with ethical (Fair Trade) and environmental (local, organic) goods and/or services. In my view, companies (and Governments) should aim to enhance the well-being of people, animals and planet. This should be their first and foremost goal. I have, however, worked for a fair few companies/institutions and made… Read more »
Caconym

Ha!

I have had experience with Sustrans chuggers in Portsmouth. Jumping out in front of a cyclist and forcing them to stop isn’t the best way of encouraging them to put their hands in their pockets.

Tanja Rebel
To Suruk: Agreed, jumping in front of a bike is not a good idea, even for the good cause of creating a cycle network. I tend to wave first and then jump aside quickly – before they cycle me off my socks, he he. On a serious note, wouldn’t it be great if the Government created this Cycle Network? Just a few per cent of the money… Read more »
Tanja Rebel

On topic: I am sorry to hear that this wonderful park has closed and hope that all the animals will find a good home.

BRIAN
The situation into which this business has descended is a trend which can only become worse. In addition to the obvious factor of the weather on an outdoor attraction, there are aspects on which businesses are totally dependent but over which have little or no control. the chief culprits are the ferry companies who are responsible for bringing the customers to the Island. Their charges directly affect… Read more »
kevin1746

sigh…its all the ferries fault….no its not, its seasonal trading, increased animal husbandry legislation and retirement that have forced this closure…not the local council, not ferries, not A. Turner

Its a sad day for the Island…but let the agitators make the most of it by inventing reasons

BRIAN
@kevin The attraction was always closed during the winter months, therefore the money had to be made from an adequate supply of summer visitors to generate sufficient income for the winter months. If seasonal trading wasn’t an issue for 43 years, why has it suddenly become an issue in year 44? The Red Funnel website gives a clue. Visitors 2007 = 626,350 2012 = 566,838 (last available)… Read more »
Mason Watch

Oh, I see that something that has nothing to do with the ferries is again used as an example of the fixed link mentality. The attraction closed because of the reasons quoted and certainly didn’t suffer from a lack of visitors.

Caconym
In fact, it is completely the opposite. It is the “We went to the Isle of Wight for our holiday and ther wasn’t much to do there” issue that is a problem. Fixed links, wind turbines, etc, won’t put visitors off. A lack of decent attractions and modern, high quality accomodation, will. So sad that this park is closing. Was there a few weeks ago for a… Read more »
Mike Vallender

Such sad news for a good island attraction that has always offered value, good standards, diversity and the opportunity to learn and further experience creatures from various parts of the world.

I hope the Adams? family enjoy their retirement time.

Caconym

Are we actually sure this is genuine? The only reports on this on the IWCP site and here reference the Facebook page only. No confirmation seems to have been made with the owners and there is no mention of closure on the park’s own website or blog.

tvtirl

Here’s some of the legislation –

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/37

If you have a day or two to read it!

BRIAN

Ye Gods, tvtirl, I only read past page two. This is probably what the Seaview owners were on about when they said ” intense legislation and regulation” It’s enough to make any proprietor slash their wrists ! It’s Ofsted on speed !

Maria Butler

So sorry to hear that this wonderful place is to close. Our family is devastated especially my eldest son who enjoyed a truly magical day as being Keeper for the Day. All those lovely staff and animals which really made this place. I will miss my Dippy posts.

Darcy

Sally: If you are speaking to the owners this morning, would you mind asking whether they aim to sell to someone who would be prepared to take the business on? It was our family’s favourite island attraction and they visited every year. Such a loss to the island but I fully understand the hard work and expense of keeping up with ever more EU legislation.