Published: 18:02, 01 January 2021
| Updated: 18:09, 01 January 2021
Bosses at Port Lympne says "with a heavy heart" they are having to temporarily close the wildlife park.
In an announcement made on Sunday afternoon it confirmed the park, near Hythe, would be closed to the public from Monday, January 4, until January 31.
Its sister park, Howletts, near Canterbury, will remain open - but only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month.
Both parks, which are among the most popular visitor attractions in the county, had been forced to close during the second national lockdown and have struggled to attract visitors amid the current rise in cases.
Although the park did not reveal the reasons behind the closure decision, it has previously stated that with visitor numbers dwindling due to the pandemic and a lack of government support, running the parks was "not sustainable".
It costs more than £300,000 a week to operate the two sites, run by the Aspinall Foundation.
In a statement, the park said: "It is with a heavy heart that we will be closing Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve to the public from January 4 until January 31. Our sister park, Howletts Wild Animal Park, remains open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only throughout January.
"With 90 acres to explore and three adorable baby elephants to see, Howletts is ideal for a safe, socially distanced day out where you can enjoy some fresh air and see our amazing animals.
"All valid Port Lympne memberships will grant access to Howletts during the month of January.
"Thank you for your ongoing support during this difficult time. We look forward to welcoming you to Port Lympne in February."
Speaking in November, managing director Tony Kelly said: "Without help and donations from the public we are struggling to fulfil our desire to rescue animals and feed those animals already under our care."