The charity working to protect Crystal Palace’s Dinosaurs says it has been inundated with donations and well-wishes from across the world after one of its historic sculptures was badly damaged.

Sarah Slaughter, the trustee of the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, said the group also hoped hoped the incident would draw attention to the plight of the fragile South London icons. 

It comes after part of the jaw of a statue Megalosaurus broke off earlier this month, with the trust revealing the damage in a public statement released on Saturday.

London’s Metropolitan Police are investigating the incident as a potential heritage crime, although the trust said it is unclear if the ancient reptile was intentionally damaged or had succumbed to a pre-existing crack in the structure.

Ms Slaughter said since going public with the news, the trust had received nearly 100 donations from across the globe.

It also received support from Guns N’ Roses rockstar Slash, who retweeted the trust’s message to his 3.6 million followers.

It’s not the first time the guitarist has gone public in his affection for the historic Dinos – in 2018 he donated a signed hat to help fundraising efforts for a new bridge to the reptiles’ island home.

“He does make a big difference, as soon as he retweets it, people do notice,” Ms Slaughter said.

“He does provide us with a point of difference, people don’t usually associate huge rock gods with dinosaurs.”

She said the trust had been taken aback by the worldwide reaction to the news.

“Overall, it is clear to see from the social media reaction that many people care for the Dinos,” she said.

“It’s people who love the Dinos, people who are interested in how the science has developed since they were built…for local people as well there’s the sentimental attachment,” she said.

She said while it was not obvious what had happened yet, the damage was the result of “years of (the Dinos) not getting the right attention”.

“Hopefully we can use this incident to make people more aware of what issues the Dinos face,” Ms Slaughter said.

She added the trust was hopeful a new bridge accessing the Dino’s Island will be available for use when the coronavirus lockdown eases and will aid the trust in applying for larger grants to help cover expensive maintenance costs.

“We’re getting ready to put our new bridge in and hopefully it allows us to apply for more funding and get specialist conservationists in,” she said.

The trust also revealed the antlers on Irish Elk statues in the park were damaged, although this could have been due to high winds.

The elk and the Dinos are part of more than 30 animal sculptures in the park which are on the Heritage At Risk register.

Built between 1852 to 1855 by sculptor and natural history artist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, the statues are often looked as exemplifying advances in science since their creation.