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Zoo planning new homes for gorillas and warty pigs

Zoo planning new homes for gorillas and warty pigs

Friday 30 April 2021

Zoo planning new homes for gorillas and warty pigs

Friday 30 April 2021

The Zoo has published plans to build larger enclosures for its gorillas and warty pigs, to bring the “outdated” facilities up to modern standards.

In their design statement, the zoo outlines the plans to replace its 40-year-old indoor enclosure, installing up-to-date technology to control the environment, as well as creating space for breeding.

VIDEO: The Go Wild Gorillas auction raised over £1m for the new enclosure project.

The project has already been aided by the Go Wild Gorillas public art trail in 2019, when the public went ape for 40 specially designed gorilla statues put around the island on a trail – these were later auctioned off, and raised over £1m.

If built, the new indoor gorilla enclosure would offer about six times the area of the old enclosure, to allow for increased breeding and larger gorilla families in future – however, the outdoor enclosure would still be maintained, as it is still fit for purpose.

Facilities would include sprinkler systems, additional public viewing windows, and an isolation area to allow the zoo to quarantine animals if necessary. 

In terms of environment, there's a new ‘biofloor’ to create a more natural floor imitating the gorilla’s habitat, as well as a modern climate control system to assist in maintaining humidity for the skin and hair of the apes.


Pictured: The new enclosure for the gorillas will include a 'bio-floor' that replicates their natural environment. (Photo credit: Charlie Wylie)

Multiple training dens are also planned, which will allow keepers to train the gorillas for medical examination with minimal stress.

However, as the Gorilla enclosure would be built over the current habitat of the zoo’s Visayan warty pigs – a critically endangered creature native to the Philippines – the zoo also has plans to build new digs for them to move to.

Like their ape neighbours, the pigs will get increased space twice the size of their old home, with a more flexible system of interconnecting dens. 

There will be no need for anyone to hog the view of the pigs either - visitors will be able to get better glimpses of them with a new dedicated exhibition space to see inside, and multiple exterior viewpoints.


Pictured: Another male warty pig is hoped to be added to the three females the zoo currently homes later this year.

Around the new enclosures too, public pathways will be created to allow access into the buildings. 

With regards to any trees that would be taken down as a result of the construction, the zoo has said it will “replace any mature trees that need to be removed for the project with others, elsewhere on the zoo site.”

Additionally, a selection of new hedgerows will be planted to the south and east of the development, which will in part contribute to the National Trust, and Jersey Royal Company’s, hedgerow planting scheme.

Fundraising for the new gorilla facility is set to continue throughout 2021.

Top picture credit: Emma Caton. 

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