The cancellation of the 23rd annual Wildlights means the BC Wildlife Park will lose more than $250,000 in revenue, the organization announced on social media Wednesday (Dec. 23).
Staff say the money generated from Wildlights would typically carry the park through until spring break, when they'd normally see an increase in both domestic and international visitors.
In a Facebook post, staff note their Fawcett Family Wildlife Health Centre and their burrowing owl breeding program are entirely funded by park admissions and donations.
"Add in an average monthly grocery bill of $10,000, plus the other costs associated with caring for nearly 200 permanent residents, and you can see why Wildlights is integral to our success," the post reads.
As previously announced, the BC Wildlife Park will be transforming Wildlights into a virtual experience.
For a minimum $5 donation, people can access the 26-minute virtual tour. It includes Uncle Chris the Clown, animal encounters, a virtual train ride, a behind-the-scenes look at how Wildlights is set up, a family activity, a close-up look at Thunder and the family farm animals, and of course, the 800,000-plus lights.
To check out Wildlights Goes Virtual, click here.