Animal park owners angered and saddened after visitor signs ‘damaged’

One of the Ark Wildlife Park signs which was damaged.
One of the Ark Wildlife Park signs which was damaged.

Owners of an animal sanctuary have reacted with anger after signs were damaged by vandals, costing them £2,000.

Jamie and Michelle Mintram, who run Stickney’s Ark Wildlife Park say signs directing people to the site have been taken down and tampered with.

One of the Ark Wildlife Park signs which was damaged.

One of the Ark Wildlife Park signs which was damaged.

They are adamant the signs were not damaged in the recent high winds, especially as other signs, placed higher up and out of reach, have not suffered the same fate.

They say the signs on the A16, which have to be officially approved by Lincolnshire County Council before they can be put up, will have to replaced with anti-tamper versions at a cost of £2,000 - an amount they say they would rather spend on the care of their animals, rather than dealing with criminals.

The first sign is said to have been damaged sometime between Saturday and Tuesday evening, with the park finding a second one damaged sometime between 3-6pm yesterday (Wednesday) while Jamie was taking one of the park’s poorly iguana’s for a specialist x-ray several hours away.

A statement on the park’s website said: “Our signs have been damaged yet again.

One of the Ark Wildlife Park signs which was damaged.

One of the Ark Wildlife Park signs which was damaged.

“This was not wind damage and has been done maliciously.”

Husband-and-wife Jamie and Michelle, who opened the Ark in October 2016, previously ran Jurassic Encounters, which took rescue reptiles into schools and other centres.

Michelle told The Standard that she is convinced it is ‘not the wind that blows them down’.

“This is being done on purpose, 100 percent,” she said.

“This came shortly after we got a really positive review which said how great our signs were.”

“They are all classed as temporary signs and were all official.

“We now need to get proper council ones but we’re definitely a little bit worried about wether they’re going to be damaged again.”

This is not the first time the park believes its signs have been targeted.

Last year, another sign in the same area, and a trailer sign - which the park was getting planning permission for - were also found to have suffered damage.

The sign which has been damaged now has a warning on to say it is being watched by CCTV and has since not been touched again.

The park has set up a gofundme page to help towards the costs of replacing the signs.

The online appeal states that: “As an animal sanctuary we spend all our income on the animals but we need people to find us.”

Michelle told The Standard: “Of course, we’d rather spend the £2,000 on helping our animals.

“My husband and I haven’t taken a salary in a year-and-a-half, two years, because everything goes to the animals.”

“However, because we’re not on the main road people sometimes had difficulty finding us before we had the signs and would completely miss us.”

It also comes as the park gets ready to make some big announcements over the coming weeks and months.

A spokesman for Lincolnshire Police confirmed they had received a report that between January 20 and January 24, two signs were damaged beyond repair at the ARK Wildlife Park on West Fen Lane, Stickney.

They are asking anyone who did see anything related to the criminal damage of the signs to call 101 quoting number 18000037375.

To help with the appeal for the signs visit https://www.gofundme.com/arkwildlife