Park back in action

Having recovered from a forced closure due to coronavirus earlier this year, the Whyalla Eyre Reptile and Wildlife Park has now officially re-opened.

The attraction closed its doors in March this year with all staff being stood down, however due to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, staff are now back in action.

Since the park re-opened on July 4, Park Owner Scott Grant said the financial impact of closing the park had been 'huge' but now people were coming down in droves to see the animals.

"It's been a long slog but we're getting through it now, we've had really good support from the community since we re-opened," he said.

"There's been quite a few families coming down from Port Augusta to support us which has been really rewarding.

"On average we've been having around 30 to 50 people come down to the park each day, so the numbers have been very consistent - regardless of the weather."

Mr Grant said many of the animals at the park had missed the human interaction during the extended break.

"The people go around giving them treats and feeding them so a lot of the animals enjoy that social interaction, we've got quite a few birds who talk to the visitors as well," he said.

Aside from the pandemic, the park was also rocked by the passing of one of its most dedicated employees, Brodie Lennon.

"He started back with us on the Friday before we re-opened, then on Sunday afternoon his wife rang us and said he wouldn't be into work on Monday because he had passed away," Mr Grant said.

"He was our main staff member, was a great employee. He was always committed to the job, never cut corners, I think in two years he only took two sick days."

To maintain the safety of visitors and the animals, the park has employed measures such as limiting hand-to-animal contact, restricting the number of customers allowed in the office, and encouraging social distancing.

"Fortunately the limit on the number of people in the park is 1000 so we're never going to hit that," Mr Grant said.

For more information about the Eyre and Wildlife Park head to https://www.facebook.com/eyrereptile/.