BEWDLEY's West Midland Safari Park has been bought out by a French leisure parks company.

The Spring Grove Road safari park, which is home to around 140 species including elephants, rhino, and lions, has been taken over by the Looping Group, which operates amusement parks across Europe.

A spokesman for the park said: "We can confirm that the Looping Group has completed the acquisition of West Midland Safari Park. Further information about this exciting development will be available later this year."

Previously owned by Safariworld Holidays until the takeover in December, West Midland Safari Park was first opened in 1973 by movie star Sophia Loren and today features the largest animatronic dinosaur exhibit in the UK.

It attracted around 700,000 visitors to Bewdley last year.

The park is the 15th amusement park to be operated by The Looping Group, which already runs parks in France, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany.

The company, launched in 2011, is expected to count around 4.3million visitors this year for a turnover exceeding €100million.

Laurent Bruloy, CEO of Looping, said: “We are very pleased to welcome a great management team and staff who will be key to developing the park into an even more exciting family destination, with our support and new feature investments.

"We want to keep the strong local anchorage of West Midland Safari Park with its local communities and will continue the important role of West Midland Safari Park towards animal conservation in and ex situ.”