Battling Cairns Wildlife Safari owner vows to fight on
ELAINE Harrison, who bought the Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve just over three months ago, is finding the going tough but has vowed to keep going.
"Tourism is very slow –outgoing is continuing to be more than incoming," she said.
"During the week we do not get a lot of people through the park and we have four or five staff and, of course, the animals have to be fed every day.
"We do quite well at the weekends but it certainly doesn’t compensate for the outgoings," Ms Harrison said.
The former Sydney lawyer said she did not regret taking on the reserve, which she has renamed Shambala Animal Kingdom, though she was "worried".
Before Ms Harrison bought the zoo, staff were often paid late as money ran out.
Ms Harrison said she was developing new strategies and marketing to increase visitor numbers.
One included visitors "being a zoo-keeper for a day", feeding the lions, tigers and otters.
She was also contemplating sending some lions to other zoos to make way for new breeding programs and introduce more cubs.
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Lion-hearted: Quitting is not in the game plan of Shambala Animal Kingdom owner Elaine Harrison despite financial woes. Picture: TONY STICKLEY