The owners of Dalton's zoo have submitted plans to expand a site in Tebay that would involve moving the resident rhinos.

Cumbria Zoo Company bought the land at Brockholes Farm in November 2022 and has been hosting visitors in lodges since January this year.

Their hopes are to move in a pair of rhinos by October with the number of lodgings increasing from five to eight.The Westmorland Gazette: One of the current holiday cottages at the siteOne of the current holiday cottages at the site (Image: Matthew Holmes)

Karen Brewer, CEO of Cumbria Zoo Company and Into the Wilds, said: "What we want for people staying is for them to pick up a map, venture into the woodlands and immerse themselves in nature.

"If people get to see this biodiversity and wildlife right on their doorstep, then they're more likely to want to protect it on a global scale."

The attraction will only be open to the public through pre-bookings with a limited number of animals occupying the 120 acres of land.

"We want animals there that help us to tell a story," said the CEO.

"And that story revolves solely around wildlife conservation and how their needs have to be put first."The Westmorland Gazette: Part of the 102 acres of land that the rhinos will be occupyingPart of the 102 acres of land that the rhinos will be occupying (Image: Matthew Holmes)

The company has been working in tandem with a conservation reserve in South Africa to fund efforts, signing a two-year commitment contract that involves training rangers and providing added security.

Mrs Brewer explained: "A percentage of our income will be going to those conservation initiatives so this expansion is absolutely vital in helping them.

"A raffle we did last week funded a unit for a month, which really shows how big an impact people can make by getting involved."The Westmorland Gazette: Holiday cottages are available to book now, with them largely booked up since JanuaryHoliday cottages are available to book now, with them largely booked up since January (Image: Matthew Holmes)

The purpose of the move is to give the rhinos open space to flourish, which will in turn give the animals back at Dalton more space.

With the expected growth, the group will be looking to create at least 12 new jobs for the area.

Mrs Brewer was not one to shy away from how their experiences at Dalton is going to shape their plans in Tebay.

She said: "Once you've been made to shovel rhino waste into the drainage systems, that are on top of a hill, you know that you have to do better for those animals and yourself."