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Wingham Wildlife Park takes over Rare Species Conservation Centre near Bellar's Bush near Sandwich.

By Sam Lennon

A popular wildlife park is to expand.

Wingham Wildlife Park has taken over the site of the former Rare Species Conservation Centre at Bellar’s Bush near Sandwich.

It acquired the land on Monday and will turn it into a sister centre called Sandwich Wildlife Park.

A jaguar, one of the animals at Wingham Wildlife Park.

A jaguar, one of the animals at Wingham Wildlife Park

The new site will provide accommodation for overnight visitors but will also have clouded leopards, South American maned wolves and ring-tailed lemurs.

WWP Animal curator Markus Wilder said: “We still don’t know how long it will take to open the site to the public.

“It needs a lot of work as it is overgrown, particularly with bamboo, which grows very high in the rain.”

The RSCC closed to the public on August 31, 2015 after nine years because of lack of funds.

The entrance to Wingham Wildlife Park

Its clouded leopards and maned wolves are still kept there but the lemurs will be brought in from Wingham.

The 1.6 acre centre was opened by the Rare Species Conservation Trust to raise awareness of the plight of endangered species.

Wingham Wildlife Park, which covers 14 acres, first opened as Wingham Bird Park in 1986.

It has a range of animals such as tigers, jaguars, black panthers, caracal lynxes from Africa and Asia, flamingos and penguins.

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