WEST Midland Safari Park has closed to the public as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The park has confirmed its decision to temporarily close its gates to visitors as of today (Thursday) "until further notice" in an effort to keep its guests, staff, and wildlife safe.

A spokesman said: "Following ongoing government advice surrounding coronavirus, West Midland Safari Park has announced that the park will temporarily close from Thursday, March 19 until further notice.

"This has been a difficult decision to make and everyone at West Midland Safari Park fully appreciates the support from guests, staff and suppliers who are also dealing with the impact of what is a global crisis."

Darren Chorley, managing director, said: “The decision to close was a hugely difficult one to take but we feel it is both necessary and sensible. The health and wellbeing of our guests, staff, and wildlife will always be our number one priority.

“We have such an important and well-loved collection of wildlife that it is essential our team are able to take the necessary steps to protect their own health, and therefore maintain our ability to give the same levels of quality care and attention to our animals.

“We’d like to thank our guests for their continued support at what is a challenging and uncertain time. We look forward to welcoming them back soon and will ensure we keep everyone updated when any decisions are made.”

The park will be contacting all guests who have pre-booked tickets - starting with those that have bookings during March.

Due to the high call volumes expected, the park will not be accepting incoming telephone calls. Guests who have further questions can contact the park’s guest relations team at support@wmspsupport.zendesk.com.