Published: 10:15, 01 April 2020
| Updated: 10:35, 01 April 2020
Animal parks struggling to fund their enormous £1.5m food bill amid the coronavirus crisis have been "overwhelmed" with donations.
Port Lympne and Howletts have been forced to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Video: Tommy the Brazilian tapir plays with a ball feeder donated by a kind-hearted couple
The "unprecedented crisis" led bosses at the Aspinall Foundation, which runs the parks, to appeal directly to the public for donations of cash and food.
Since publicising the appeal through KentOnline just five days ago, generous animal-lovers have rushed to donate items on the parks' Amazon wish lists, including nut butters, jams and herbal teas.
A spokesman said: "We are overwhelmed with the kindness we have received from our supporters.
"In terms of donations, we have received enough funding to feed our animals for week, which is an amazing start, but we still have a long way to go.
"It is incredibly heart-warming to see the generosity that the public have shown and everything that has been donated will be a massive help to all the animals, both at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve and Howletts Wild Animal Park."
Speaking last week, managing director Tony Kelly explained that it costs the Aspinall Foundation £1.5 million per year to feed its animals.
"Without the continued support of our guests, visitors and members, we are facing an unprecedented crisis," he said.
The coronavirus lockdown has cut off vital income from visitors which the parks rely on to care for more than 1,300 rare and endangered animals.
Some keepers are even living on site at Howletts, near Canterbury, and Port Lympne, near Hythe, in order to look after the animals.
Park bosses say keepers and vets are continuing to self-distance, with extra cleaning regimes in place. They have also been provided with thermometers so temperature checks can be performed for all the animal teams daily.
Keepers are also handling primates and apes with particular care as experts believe they could be susceptible to Covid-19 because of how similar they are to us.
Although this is "a difficult time for all families", Mr Kelly hopes the public will continue donating to the park's Animal Support Fund.
"Any donation, no matter how small, will help us to feed and look after our animals," he added.
"Your support is critical, now more than ever. On behalf of all the team, I would like to thank you for your exceptional support during this challenging time.”
The public can support the animals by donating any of the following items via their Amazon wish list: porridge, herbal tea, nuts and seeds, fresh meat or fish, honey and nut butters.
Income from Port Lympne and Howletts also goes towards the Aspinall Foundation, which is KentOnline's charity of the year.
The conservation charity rescues rare and endangered species, both in the UK and overseas.