Chester Zoo in £30m redevelopment

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This is how architects expect the Philippines to look when it is recreated at Chester Zoo

Exotic island habitats are to be recreated at Chester Zoo, after it won planning permission for a £30m redevelopment.

In one of the largest redevelopments in Europe, the zoo will link replica islands such as South Eastown Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi by a series of bridges and waterways.

In the aptly named ‘Island Project’ each area will home animals from South East Asia such as Sumatran tigers and the Sunda Gavial crocodile.

Other species will include Banteng, orangutans, Indonesian rhinoceros hornbills, Sulawesi macaques and exotic birds, such as the lorikeet.

The £30 million venture will also showcase the zoo’s Act for Wildlife conservation activities and will include a major new Indonesian jungle house, which will be the largest indoor zoo exhibit in the UK.

Dr Mark Pilgrim, Director General of Chester Zoo, said: “Islands will see the dawning of a new age for zoos and it will be an unparalleled experience. For many of our visitors, taking a trip to these islands is just a dream. But we will be making those dreams a reality.

“Our wildlife expedition will be based on real life, real people and real stories. It’s big, it is ambitious and there will be nothing else like it in the UK and indeed on an international scale.”

Designed by architects from the Dan Pearlman group in Germany, the whole project also homes in on the different vegetation and architecture seen on the various islands.

Kieran Stanley, CEO of Dan Pearlman group, said: “The Islands project is about immersion, it’s about taking you there, to experience the wild animals in their natural habitats. The details along the way tell authentic stories of the amazing things that happen on islands, the Chester Zoo conservation team and it`s work in the field.

The project is planned to open to the public by Easter 2015.


About Joshua Killner, JMU Journalism