Kent’s Aspinall Animal Parks facing ‘Unprecedented Crisis’

In light of the Government advice surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19), both Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, and Howletts Wild Animal Park have been left with no choice but to temporarily close. The coronavirus lockdown has cut off vital visitor income, which the parks rely on to care for 1300+ rare and endangered animals.

The parks’ Managing Director, Tony Kelly has appealed directly to the public, asking for crucial support, saying:

It is critical to us that we continue to generate income. It costs us £1.5 million per year just to feed our animals. Without the continued support of our guests, visitors and members, we are facing an unprecedented crisis.”

 Howletts near Canterbury and Port Lympne, near Ashford, work closely with international conservation charity, The Aspinall Foundation and as such, are very different from conventional zoos. The parks lead the way in animal care, enclosure design, enrichment and breeding success and are intended to be breeding sanctuaries for some of the world’s most rare and endangered animals. As such, Port Lympne has the only tower of giraffes in Kent and Howletts has the largest herd of elephants in the UK.

Despite the closure, the keepers and vets at both parks are working incredibly hard to continue to deliver an excellent level of care, with some keepers even living on site. The keepers and vets are continuing to self-distance, with extra cleaning regimes in place and have also been provided with thermometers so temperature checks can be performed for all the animal teams daily.

Managing Director, Tony Kelly continues:

“I realise this is a difficult time for all families, but I ask that you consider donating to our Animal Support Fund by visiting

Any donation, no matter how small, will help us to feed and look after our animals. Your support is critical, now more than ever.  On behalf of all the team, I would like to thank you for your exceptional support during this challenging time.”

The public can also support the animals in the parks’ care by purchasing an essential item from the Amazon Wish List or donating any of the following items:

  • Porridge
  • Herbal tea
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Fresh meat or fish
  • Honey
  • Nut butters

For more information on how to donate and to view the Amazon Wish List, visit

For further information on the closure of both parks visit

Notes to editors:

For further press information or image requests please contact Abbie McCarthy, Media Relations and Communications Executive at

  • Both Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve and Howletts Wildlife Park are temporarily closed, due to Government advice regarding COVID-19. For more information, visit
  • Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve and Howletts Wild Animal Park are breeding sanctuaries for some of the world’s most endangered species. The two Kent parks are charities and rely on visitor funds and donations to carry out their conservation work. Where possible, animals born at the parks are released into protected areas of their natural habitat, as part of The Aspinall Foundation’s Back To The Wild programme.
  • Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve and Howletts Wild Animal Park work with The Aspinall Foundation, a world leading conservation charity. The parks, in Kent are two of the County’s most popular visitor attractions. Profits from the parks in Kent and accommodation at Port Lympne Reserve go towards helping The Aspinall Foundation’s efforts to save rare and endangered species, both in the UK and overseas.
  • Howletts Wild Animal Park and Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve in Kent, working with The Aspinall Foundation, are some of the most successful breeders of captive endangered animals in the world. With unrivalled achievements in husbandry, the conservation charity boasts 147 gorilla births, 41 black rhino, 147 clouded leopards, 55 Javan gibbons, 188 Javan langur and 26 African elephants.
  • Howletts Wild Animal Park and Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve are members of Visit England’s accreditation scheme for quality visitor attractions VAQAS.
  • The Aspinall Foundation manages conservation projects in Congo, Gabon, Indonesia, Madagascar and Southern Africa, as well as providing financial support to various partner projects around the world. The conservation charity’s important work helps protect some of the most endangered species on the planet.