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Coronavirus Kent: People flock to Howletts Wild Animal Park to see animals by using footpath which runs through attraction

People are still flocking to catch a glimpse of wild animals at Howletts despite lockdown restrictions - with reports that some visitors have been defecating in nearby fields.

Despite the animal park being shut, a narrow footpath which leads through the attraction in Bekesbourne, near Canterbury, allows them to walk through the site to see the wildlife.

Police in the Bekesbourne area yesterday. Picture: David Taylor
Police in the Bekesbourne area yesterday. Picture: David Taylor

But following health and parking concerns from a resident, police visited the area to ensure people were not flouting government guidelines around social distancing.

David Taylor, who lives nearby, said there has been an "excessive amount of people" turning up to walk around the area over the past few weeks which was "getting out of hand".

"Where the weather has been so good, people have been asking ‘where do we see the elephants?’," the 57-year-old said.

"They can’t be local because otherwise they would know where the footpath is.

"The cars were blocking Garrington Farm and they were walking down there.

People have reportedly been flocking to see animals at Howletts Zoo. Picture: Google Street View
People have reportedly been flocking to see animals at Howletts Zoo. Picture: Google Street View

"Gates have been open, a cat got out and I also found people have been defecating in the fields."

He says the footpath is only about 4ft-wide so people are not abiding by social distancing rules.

People often use the public footpath to see the animals so they do not have to pay the admission fee.

Mr Taylor added: "I have lost a friend to Covid-19 and I work in the medical sector.

"We have all got to follow the guidance."

Elephants can be seen via the footpath
Elephants can be seen via the footpath

A police spokesperson said officers were called on Sunday about concerns people were congregating near Bekesbourne Lane.

"Officers attended to engage, explain and encourage those using local footpaths to adhere to the government’s instructions around social distancing," they said.

The Aspinall Foundation, which runs Howletts, has been approached for comment.

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