Dolphin marine conservation park collapses as owner makes last ditch effort to save Coffs Harbor tourist spot
Government fails to pay marine park’s appeal for grant Tourist spot has rescued animals for more than 50 years
A favorite tourist spot on the brink of collapse has issued a desperate plea to save the place.
The Dolphin Marine Conservation Park in Coffs Harbour, NSW has become a much-needed grant as funding dries up in the north-end.
The centre, one of only two facilities in Australia that take and care for injured dolphins, has called for ‘urgent’ support from the NSW Government to keep the facility open after struggling with financial difficulties.
The park has provided rescue and rehabilitation services for marine animals, including dolphins, sea lions and turtles, from Sydney to the Gold Coast for more than 50 years, but has hired volunteer administrators to run operations and ‘explored alternative financing and rehabilitation options.’
The Dolphin Marine Conservation Park is on the brink of collapse as funding for the popular tourist spot dries up.
Fifty employees will lose their jobs if the park closes, and hundreds of marine animals will lose their ‘forever’ homes in approved and recognized areas.
The park is also the only permanent and fully equipped rescue and rehabilitation center for sea lions and dolphins in NSW.
In a statement released by the park, managing director Terry Goodall said it was the last step to ‘go public’ with the financial appeal after attempts to get support from local, state or federal governments had failed.
‘By going public, we hope the Government will see that we are at serious risk of closing marine conservation parks and marine wildlife rescue facilities and offer support to get us through these difficult times,’ Mr Goodall said.
‘We hope the community will rally around us in support of a fundraising campaign we have launched to ensure the best welfare for the animals in our care and to continue to provide vital marine wildlife rescue and rehabilitation services for the NSW coast.’
In social media posts, the park urged supporters to donate via a PayPal link to keep the business alive, with some users sharing that they had better bookings in the future.
The page shared, ‘Continuous natural disasters including bushfires, floods, COVID-19 and more floods have taken their toll on our organization.
‘The last straw is the series of RBA interest rate hikes. With less discretionary income, fewer people visit and guests spend less.
A park that has rescued animals like dolphins for more than 50 years has turned to donations from the public to save the iconic site.
Managing director Terry Goodall said local, state and federal governments had failed to pay to keep the park open.
‘Every donation counts, and we are incredibly grateful for the people and businesses that have already stepped forward and donated or offered support.’
‘We are coming from WA for our homeschooling marine biology camp in September. Here’s hoping your still open! We donated,’ one woman commented on the post.
Mr. Goodall urged those who visited the park in previous years to consider returning, selling a family pass for $119.
‘If someone had last visited the Dolphin Marine Conservation Park one to two years ago, they would have been impressed by the changes we’ve made and the incredible connection between our team and the animals,’ he said.
‘A family pass is $119 for two adults and two children for four hours of educational talks, presentations and the chance to get closer to dolphins and Australian sea lions in safety than anywhere else in Australia.
‘With the community’s support, we hope people can continue to experience these unique marine mammals and other marine life for many years to come.’
The NSW Environment Minister has been contacted for comment.