Mike opens Reptile House!

Our new-look Reptile House has been opened by BBC presenter and ecologist, Mike Dilger.

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Mike, a familiar face on The One Show, officially opened the centre yesterday afternoon.

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He said: “It’s fantastic to be back at Dudley Zoo. As a child I lived in Stafford and my first memories of a zoo are of coming to Dudley and striding up the hill.

“As a kid I was absolutely fascinated by zoos and what really set me off was going to amazing zoos like Dudley on my own doorstep; it’s so good to be back. 

“The most important thing about zoos is that they give all the kids the chance to see animals they may never see in the wild.”

He added: “On The One Show I get the opportunity to work with amazing animals and people but I’ve also spent five years working abroad in the tropics in South America, Africa and South East Asia and seen lots of really cool animals, birds and reptiles – but I’ve not seen half these animals here at Dudley and would never have the chance to see them if it wasn’t for zoos.”

DZG CEO Peter Suddock said: “We can’t thank Mike enough for opening the Reptile House, we’ve got a great relationship with him and look forward to his next visit.

“He is always interested in what’s going on within the collection and is immensely knowledgeable and a passionate eco warrior for species large and small.”

He added: “He truly is a great ambassador for zoos across the country.” 

Mike was presented with an adoption package for Reptile House favourite, a rhinoceros iguana named Trigger.

See Mike on The One Show on Monday and Wednesday at 7pm on BBC1.  Watch the official opening here>

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The Reptile House, which was originally opened by Sir Peter Scott in May 1956, has undergone a £15,000 facelift to include remodelling of enclosures, installing timber flooring and cladding to walls around the public-viewing corridors and the construction of a new glazed dual entrance.

All work has been carried out in-house by DZG’s Development Team.

CEO?Peter Suddock said:?”Our collection of reptiles is very popular with the public, and while the refurbishment is certainly for the animals’ benefit, it will also make the Reptile House more attractive for visitors. 

“We are delighted that Mike agreed to perform the opening ceremony. We met when he came to DZG in January with The One Show team, to film us coping in heavy snowfall, and the staff loved him.

“He’s familiar with the site and our work and was genuinely interested in our plans for the future and was keen to learn all about our collection.”

He added: “We have a new team of reptile keepers working within the section and they have come up with some strong ideas for the enclosures which they undertook throughout the winter months.

“The revamp will herald a new era for the Reptile House which is now becoming an even bigger favourite with many of our members.”

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