|Chester zoo's orangutan enclosure with telegraph poles|
|Work is about to get underway on the
most expensive project in the history of Chester Zoo.
The first phase of a brand new £3 million exhibit – Realm of the Red Ape – begins this month (December), kick-starting the building of the largest orang-utan exhibit in Europe.
The new home, for Chester Zoo’s Bornean and Sumatran Orang-utans, will offer more space and will mean that the Zoo can house an increased number of both of these threatened species as part of the European Breeding Programme. It will re-create a tropical environment with a wide variety of Indonesian forest invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals as well as indigenous plants, trees and shrubs.
The first phase will see the creation of a two-storey building linked onto the existing orang-utan house, comprising three large indoor enclosures. Linked to these will be two further large outdoor enclosures, covered with a mesh roof, which will be supported with tree-like structures to act as climbing frames for the orang-utans.
In addition there will be two very large outdoor enclosures which will be viewed from a first floor public gallery as well as from other outside vantage points, containing a fast-flowing waterfall and lots of plants, with climbing structures for the orang-utans.
This project is expected to take at least 12 months to complete and throughout that time the orang-utans will use their existing house and visitors will still be able to see them out on their island.
Mike Jordan, the Zoo’s Curator of Birds and Mammals said: “This is a particularly exciting development that will enable us to build upon our already considerable success in breeding Critically Endangered Sumatran Orang-utans and increase our numbers of these, and their Endangered Bornean counterparts. The new development will also enable us to start working with many other Indonesian species including gibbons which will be a fantastic addition to Chester Zoo.”
Chester Zoo has launched a ‘Realm of the Red Ape’ Fundraising Appeal and plans for the new development can be seen at the existing Orang-utan enclosure.