As 2017 draws to a close, we’re excited to reveal our plans for next year, which include introducing brand new species to the DZG collection and a summer beach for our younger visitors.
Over the coming 12 months we’re getting set to spend £405,000 on animal projects across the 40-acre site including new exhibits for Binturong, Prevost’s squirrel and naked mole rats, plus a further £150,000 on improving visitor facilities.
Zoo Director Derek Grove, said: “Throughout 2018 we’re continuing to carry out improvements to the zoo which will hugely benefit our animals and visitors and we’re looking forward to bringing in brand new and interesting species to DZG. We’re confident they will be popular additions to our collection.”
The first stage of the work, expected to be completed for February half term is a £10,000 exhibit for naked mole rats in the chimpanzee indoor viewing area.
We’re set to receive a colony from Chester Zoo who will take up residence in the newly built burrow system, which will feature glass-fronted panels so visitors will get a clear view of the weird and wonderful critters.
The second phase of our farmyard revamp is set to complete in time for the Easter holidays, with a £30,000 refurbishment of the outdoor area including new animals and children’s play equipment.
Closely following for May Day we’re hoping to unveil our £25,000 Binturong enclosure in the area of the yellow mongoose exhibit.
With a height of 4.5m, the exhibit will allow our ground-dwelling yellow mongoose and a new male Binturong – an arboreal species – who’s joining us from Olomouc Zoo in the Czech Republic – to live together, with the enclosure including new glass viewing windows, housing and climbing frame.
Work is expected to then turn to the new Prevost’s squirrel exhibit. We’ll be knocking down the two current empty squirrel enclosures on the lower zoo site and replacing them with one single large exhibit to house six males at a cost of £25,000.
We’ll also be creating a new £15,000 area in Lemur Wood specifically for our black lemur group, which will allow visitors to get a better view of our family.
Plus, staff will also be extending the camel paddock around the adventure playground, as well as improving the Brazilian tapir enclosure; updating our Castle Creature exhibit; completing work on our parrot aviaries and carrying out the winning £250,000 project from our 2017 visitor vote – which is looking highly likely to be the Sumatran tiger extension plans – although there’s still four days left to vote!
But that’s not all, as part of our £150,000 visitor services improvements we’ll be redeveloping toilets, providing new playground equipment, building a viewing platform over our lion enclosure and over the summer holidays we’ll be transforming the former sensory garden area into DZG’s beach, complete with buckets and spades to entertain our young visitors.