Save our park and save marine wildlife!

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Save our park and save marine wildlife!

Urgent support needed to save our iconic marine conservation park!

Despite exhaustive efforts to stay afloat, Coffs Harbour’s beloved marine conservation park and marine wildlife rescue and rehabilitation facility face closure unless funding is received urgently!

Dolphin Marine Conservation Park and Dolphin Marine Rescue operate without government funding.

After more than 52 years of providing marine animal rescue and rehabilitation services from Sydney to the Gold Coast, we’re calling for urgent government support to keep the marine conservation park open and continue to save injured, sick and orphaned marine wildlife.

Voluntary administrators have been appointed to help manage the operations and explore alternative financial and restructuring options. We’ve also launched a community fundraising appeal. 

If enough funds are raised, it may be possible to save our marine conservation park and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre through restructuring which is why we urgently need support.

Dolphin Marine Rescue is the only specialist marine animal rescue and rehabilitation facility on the NSW coast. It is the only facility licensed and qualified to rescue and rehabilitate seals on the East Coast of Australia.

If the park has to close, the impact on marine wildlife and animals in our care will be devastating. NSW will lose:

  • the only licensed and qualified rescue and rehabilitation facility for sea lions and dolphins – our centre has the expertise and seawater rehabilitation pools necessary for care.
  • the only permanent, fully-equipped rehabilitation facility for injured, sick and orphaned marine wildlife from sea turtles to shearwaters.
  • marine animal conservation and advocacy programs run by our passionate team for the preservation of marine species, including #SealTheLoop
  • the world’s most successful breeding program for the survival of endangered Australian sea lions, based right here in Coffs Harbour.
  • the sanctioned and accredited ‘forever home’ for marine wildlife deemed unreleasable by government wildlife authorities including dolphins, Australian sea lions, Little Blue Penguins, freshwater and sea turtles, rays, sharks and over 20 species of fish.

The impact on the community will be felt across Australia, and the world, if the park has to close. We risk losing:

  • Hands-on, curriculum-approved, marine animal care and conservation educational programs for thousands of school students and NSW TAFE students and placement opportunities for Veterinary University Students.
  • Fifty full-time, part-time, and casual jobs for team members in marine animal care, maintenance, bookings, administration, cafe, and management.
  • Estimated 15-million-dollar annual contribution to the local Coffs Coast economy through tourism – every visitor spends money on accommodation, food and drink, entertainment, shopping and visiting other attractions on the Coffs Coast.
  • Long-term custom for hundreds of suppliers will adversely affect the community.
  • Marine animal rescue training expertise and workshops for volunteers and wildlife organisation personnel, including key government agencies.

Like many other organisations, we have endured a series of natural disasters over the past four years. The impact of bushfires, floods, COVID-19 and more floods have taken a toll on the park. Finally, consecutive RBA rate rises have increased business costs and severely curbed the public’s appetite and ability to spend, particularly on discretionary items, including tourism and eating out.

  • Visitors to the marine conservation park and rescue facility are down 25% on pre-COVID-19 numbers. The park and rescue facility welcomed 60,000 visitors in 2019 and just 45,000 in the last financial year.
  • With fewer visitors, the income has dramatically reduced for the marine conservation park and the rescue facility.
  • Visitors are also spending less as a result of the challenging economic climate.

Managing Director, Mr Goodall, expressed his disappointment in having to resort to this measure.

“Despite calling for urgent assistance from local, state and federal governments, we have received letters of support but no financial relief. By going public, we hope the government will see that we’re at serious risk of closing the marine conservation park and marine wildlife rescue facility and offer support to get us through this tough period.

We also hope the community will rally around us with support for a fundraising campaign we’ve launched  to continue to provide optimum welfare for the animals in our care and the critical marine wildlife rescue and rehabilitation service for the NSW Coast.

We’d love people to come and visit our park and wildlife rescue and rehab centre and see how we advocate for marine animal conservation. If someone’s last visit to Dolphin Marine Conservation Park was one to two years ago, they will be impressed with the changes we’ve made and the incredible connection between our team and animals. A family pass is $119 for two adults and two children for four hours of educational talks, presentations and the opportunity to safely get closer to dolphins and Australian sea lions than anywhere else in Australia. With community support, we hope people can continue to experience these unique marine mammals and other marine animals for many more years.”

For more information, or to help, please call our Managing Director, Terry Goodall on 02 6659 1901. Or email Terry at manager@dmcvp.com.au

CFN/26698 Fundraising appeal by DMCP Operations Ltd for Dolphin Marine Conservation Park and Coffs Harbour Animal Rescue Trust (CHART) trading as Dolphin Marine Rescue Animal Rehab Trust

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