There were celebrations as DZC staff watched our four critically endangered Bornean orangutans exploring their brand new £500,000 outdoor enclosure for the very first time.
After a yearlong build, the large grassed enclosure, adjacent to their indoor den area, was completed last week, with Jazz, Sprout, Djimat and Benji accessing the new space over the last few days.
DZC Curator Richard Brown, said: “It was a fantastic sight to see the orangutans coming into the new enclosure and immediately exploring the climbing apparatus, which showcases the natural behaviours of the arboreal ape species.
“This enclosure is life changing for the orangutans and was quite an emotional moment for staff to witness.”
Jazz and Djimat were the first orangutans to explore their new surroundings, which includes a large timber frame, hammocks, shelters, webbing and ropes, before Sprout joined a little while later, with Benji taking his time to discover the space by himself earlier this week.
And we’re incredibly grateful to those visitors who have helped us fundraise for the new outdoor facility over the past few years. We launched a public appeal during our 80th anniversary with a fundraising Onesie Walk and added all funds raised from purchases of our keeper and animal experiences towards the project.
Richard added: “The pandemic has forced us to defer some of our development plans across the site, but we were always determined to bring our orangutan enclosure plans to fruition.
“We started work exactly a year ago using local builders and suppliers and we’re all incredibly proud to achieve this long-term goal, especially during these troubled times.”
Work will now turn to redeveloping and combining the original outdoor space and we hope to officially open the new enclosure with a celebratory day during the summer.