South East Asia meets Chester

23 November 2012, 16:33

An unoccupied part of the Zoo's estate will become the islands of the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi.

Linked by a series of bridges and including a journey on water, the development will be home to animals and plants from south east Asian islands including new species such as Banteng and the Sunda Gavial crocodile.

Other animal species will include Sumatran tigers, orangutans, rhinoceros hornbills, Sulawesi macaques and exotic birds such as the lorikeet.

Visitors will head off on a conservation expedition, dubbed Kayamaman meaning treasure, from a man-made beach front.

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.  Although the animals, both new and existing, will provide a huge draw for visitors, the experience of the journey with the sights, smells and colours of nature and culture of these Islands will be brought to life in all their glory, creating a treasure trove of experiences right here in Cheshire and a zoo visit unlike any other.

"For many of our visitors, taking a trip to these islands is just a dream. But we will be making those dreams a reality, transporting our visitors thousands of miles away to experience the splendour of the animals, plants and cultural aspects of these far-flung places. It will be the first time a UK zoo has attempted anything on this scale and will confirm Chester Zoo’s position as a world leader.

Work is expected to start early in 2013 with the entire zone planned to open to the public by Easter 2015.