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Wild Ireland reopens to the public 29.06.20

THE Wild Ireland Animal Sanctuary, a business unlike most in Inishowen, is located in a small pocket of woodland at Dundrain in Burnfoot. As founder Killian McLaughlin explains "many animals such as wolves, lynx, bears and wild boar were common in Ireland many years ago, something many people aren’t aware of". Through the efforts of Wild Ireland, these animals are now residing back in familiar terrain in Inishowen.
When Wild Ireland was forced to close due to the pandemic in March, it didn’t work like other businesses. "We simply weren’t able to turn off the lights and close our doors. We had to operate as normal, minus visitors, which involved cleaning, watering and feeding animals as normal. Bears for example consume over €500 of fresh fruit and veg every week", explains Killian.
Bears enjoying the animal sanctuary experience. Wild Ireland is now open again to the public. Visit www.wildireland.org .
Wild Ireland needed assistance and another Donegal business, Feedpods were just the company to assist. Feedpods provide solar powered robotic feeding systems, software management and enrichment products.
The two innovators have come together to develop a randomised feed and monitoring solution for animals at Wild Ireland which can be operated and viewed online. This innovation helps to enhance the animals’ routine, providing stimulation through scattered feed times, as it would be in the wild. In addition it reduces the need for personal contact which prevents the spread of COVID-19 from humans to animals.
A spokesperson for Feedpods said ‘to be able to work with Killian and Wild Ireland through the Local Enterprise Office Donegal scheme was fantastic. Through this innovation, the animals, such as bears and monkeys are able to be cared for and monitored remotely 24/7 by Killian and the team at Wild Ireland.’’
New challenges undoubtedly exist for reopening Wild Ireland with social distancing and minimising crowd congregation, which will result in a new one-way system and online bookings only.
Killian believes now more than ever it is important for the tourism sector to work together and pre pandemic Wild Ireland teamed up with local hotels in Inishowen to offer guests Wild Ireland getaway packages. He is now encouraging "everyone within the sector to work together. The greater the collective offering we can provide in Donegal, the greater the tourist experience will be and that will ultimately drive sustainable tourism recovery and growth".
Wild Ireland is now open again to the public. If you wish to find out more or book a ticket please visit www.wildireland.org .
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