In Sanskrit, it means “rebirth” and that’s exactly what the Samsara Nature Park in Penal has been trying to do for dozens of animal species- to give them a second life.
But the COVID-19 pandemic is now threatening the survival of the park.
Located on 20 acres of land in Coqueran Drive, Rock Road Penal, the park is home to almost 300 animals, many of whom are rescued animals.
From abandoned dogs and retired racehorses to monkeys and macaws bred and released back into the wild, Samsara is filled with these species native to Trinidad and Tobago. The park even rescues and temporarily nurses animals back to health before finding loving homes for them.
One animal they rescued is the first horse added to their family- Athena. According to Samsara co-owner Kerry Latchman, she was chopped by idle students in Barataria two and a half years ago. She’s among almost one dozen horses who now call Samsara home.
But this new haven for these animals who would otherwise be left for dead is now staring down a dark path as the owners are no longer able to cover operating costs such as feeding them.
Because of the limited movement advised and mandated by Government as it tries to curb the spread of COVID-19 locally, their customers have all but disappeared.
The loss of income has compromised their ability to feed the animals.
“Before COVID-19 we were running a pretty successful business where we had a lot of school visits and for summer camps. A lot of visitors used to come here before,” the other co-owner Darrin Ramoutar told Guardian Media.
With their food supplies running low, they are now appealing to citizens and animal lovers to donate food for the animals or if possible money to help pay staff.
“We’re telling everybody that a little goes a long way. Whatever you have may be of some help to us. You might have a fruiting tree in your back yard and a lot is wasting…we have a lot of animals here that would be able to benefit from that,” Ramoutar said.
The nature park has been receiving assistance through donations from corporate entities such as David Ramnath and Sons Garment supplies which donates proceeds from facemask sales to them among other assistance.
However, with the cost ranging between $2,000 to $3,000 to feed the animals per day, the park is appealing for any assistance possible.
Those interested in making donations can contact them through their Facebook page or through any of the contacts listed on it.