Colchester zoo set to expand

A MAJOR new tropical centre is to be built at Colchester Zoo once its orangutans have moved to a new house later this year.As the project nears completion, plans are now being unveiled for the development of the site where the existing Orangutan and Lar Gibbon enclosures currently stand as well as the area where the Encounters Marquee used to be and the area presently known as Parrot Rock.

A MAJOR new tropical centre is to be built at Colchester Zoo once its orangutans have moved to a new house later this year.

As the project nears completion, plans are now being unveiled for the development of the site where the existing Orangutan and Lar Gibbon enclosures currently stand as well as the area where the Encounters Marquee used to be and the area presently known as Parrot Rock.

Subject to planning permission, it is hoped that this huge area is to become a brand new tropical walkthrough exhibit which will give Colchester Zoo the room to house over five new species including an endangered species of crocodile.

The plans will propose that it will be spread over two floors and will hopefully incorporate an underwater viewing tunnel in which visitors will be able to see crocodiles swim and feed above their heads, before coming out to see them basking around their outdoor pool on their heated rocks, through three metre glass windows.

On the second floor there will be an immersive tropical rainforest exhibit which visitors will be able to walk through whilst reptiles, snakes and tamarins surround them and birds fly over head. It is hoped that this new exhibit will also house a family of Buffy-headed Capuchins - a critically endangered primate that is supported by Colchester Zoo's charity Action for the Wild.

This new state of the art complex will be at the forefront of modern zoo design and will be one of Colchester Zoo's most impressive exhibits to date. If permission is granted work could start as early as the Autumn of 2008 and be completed by late 2010. Work is also underway on dramatic changes to the existing Aquatic House with the old aquariums being demolished to create a new complex with a large open reptile enclosure for Rhinoceros Iguanas and eventually a walk through exhibit for tamarins. The covered area will also lead through to a brand new meerkat enclosure.