The company which manages Blackpool Zoo is being put up for sale, it has been claimed.
Reports this week suggest Parques Reunidos, a Spanish-based leisure parks operator, is to be the subject of an auction this autumn.
I was there not long ago and the people there have done it proud
Parques Reunidos owns the popular East Park Drive-based attraction as well as Bournemouth Aquarium and the Aquarium of the Lakes in Cumbria.
It is the second time this year the company has been linked with a sale, while in October it was also linked with another billion pound sale.
The move is being pushed by owners Arle Capital Partners, a major London-based investment firm.
Coun Jim Elmes, of Marton Ward, which includes the zoo, said: “It is the first I have heard of it.
“I was there not long ago and the people there have done it proud.
“I would hope if it does get sold on in the future a suitable company takes over.
“It is a rumour I am not familiar with, but if they do decide to move the zoo on then I hope it is to one of the big conservation groups like the one which owns San Diego Zoo, which is a fabulous venue.
“Blackpool Zoo is abeautiful venue for the town.
“They have made so many changes – it is amazing what they have done.”
Since buying the attraction from Grant Leisure in a £10.4m deal in 2007, Parques Reunidos has helped to transform the venue into one of the top zoos in the UK.
The origins of Parques Reunidos go back to 1967 when it was founded in Madrid.
It is the second largest operator of leisure and theme parks in Europe with parks in Spain, Belgium, Norway, France, Italy and Argentina.
It is now the third largest operator of leisure and theme parks in Europe with 22 parks in Spain, Belgium, Norway, France and Italy.
In 2014 it announced record figures for the ninth consecutive year with visitor numbers, school visits and memberships all up 10 per cent on the previous year, with a rise in revenue.
This year it was voted as one of the top three best zoo’s in the UK, and in the top ten in Europe in the Travellers’ Choice awards for Zoos 2015, which are hosted by TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site.
It also received a Travellers Choice Award from TripAdvisor, which is held by less than one per cent of worldwide attractions.
A spokesman for Parques Reunidos was unavailable for comment.
A spokesman for Arle declined to comment on the Parques Reunidos sale process.