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Chester Zoo News

Chester Zoo: Ground-breaking for Islands

The first construction phase of Great Britain’s largest zoo development has begun. Zoo president, the Duke of Westminster, and Zoo director general, Mark Pilgrim, expressed their delight at the start of construction. Beginning in early 2015, the Islands experience environment sends visitors on a tour of discovery of the islands of Southeast Asia—from the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, to Bali, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Sumba.

Over a 60,000-sq.metre area, the natural habitats of the Sumatra tiger, the warty pig, or the cassowary have been recreated as authentically as possible, so that the endangered species can feel at home here.  Numerous behavioural enrichment elements emphasize the importance placed on species-appropriate animal caretaking methods. Visitors simultaneously connect emotionally to their surroundings and the information displayed. This allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the work of the Chester Zoo and to learn about numerous global campaigns for preserving biodiversity.

The tour of the Indian Ocean island landscape features mangroves, swamps and tropical forests. The landscape can be explored along the 1,500-metre long Jungle Trail or over water. A total of fourteen boats allow visitors to discover the Islands on a 450-meter long tour that passes by the 4000-sq.metre Monsoon Forest tropical greenhouse—the largest of its kind in Great Britain.

Kieran Stanley sums up the special significance of the work for the Chester Zoo as follows: ‘It was a challenge and an honour to be given the responsibility to design everything from the architecture, the landscape and planting, the animal habitats, the boot ride, the communication design and strategy as well as the retail and restaurant. It has been very enriching for me working very closely with all the teams at the Zoo to create this unique experience and I am very excited to see the onsite progress, watching the whole thing take shape.’

For further information on the start of construction please click here!