Officials at the tourist attraction have confirmed the park has been given €600,000 to build an indoor animal care and conservation centre for endangered species.
The project — which includes €200,000 from the South and East Cork Area Development group (Secad) — began with a turning of the sod ceremony with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney yesterday.
It is expected to be completed by August and means visitors will be able to see exotic animals at all times of the year.
Coming with the creation of 10 jobs, Fota officials
believe the move is a valuable step forward for both the animals they house and the East Cork area itself.
Fota director Sean McKeown called the centre “a very important development”.
“The indoor visitor facility will make the wildlife park more of an all-weather attraction, increasing visitor numbers to the park and therefore creating additional jobs here.
“This project could not have been undertaken without the generous financial support from Secad.
“We would also like to acknowledge Minister Coveney for his continued support in the development of Fota Wildlife Park into a world class facility.”
It is hoped the development will enhance the breeding work at Fota.
Officials described the project as “a new opportunity” for the public to learn about the importance of preserving indigenous biodiversity.