Change is never easy. Especially when iconic locations like Bristol Zoo Gardens are involved. We’ve missed the Clifton institution since it closed back in September. But change can also be a good thing. And these CGI images of the new Bristol Zoo, released today (February 22), have us more than excited for future.
These pictures reveal how visitors will be immersed in nature from the moment they step foot inside the new Bristol Zoo, which is located near Cribbs Causeway. Developed at Bristol Zoological Society’s Wild Place Project site, they show plans for a Central African Forests area, home to the Western lowland gorilla troop from Bristol Zoo Gardens; a conservation learning campus, where visitors will see scientists at work; and a stunning new wild entrance.
The new zoo will also be home to some of the world’s most threatened species. Along with the Critically Endangered gorilla troop, the new Central African Forests area will be home to several Endangered and Critically Endangered species. This includes cherry-crowned Mangabey monkeys, African grey parrots, slender-snouted crocodiles and several extremely rare species of West African fish.
“We’re excited to share these images of the new Bristol Zoo,” said Dr Justin Morris, Chief Executive of Bristol Zoological Society. “They show how animals will have the space to thrive and future generations will come face-to-face with amazing animals in nature, as well as learn more about our charity’s critical conservation and education work, to protect at-risk species and habitats.”
The images also show how visitors will enter an immersive wild experience upon arrival, with a brand new entrance planned, as well as gift shop and restaurant. Meanwhile, at the heart of the zoo is a new conservation campus, with purpose-built facilities for undergraduate and postgraduate conservation students. Modern veterinary facilities will also ensure the highest standards of animal welfare too.
In the first phase, around 80 per cent of the species at the new Bristol Zoo will be linked to the Society’s conservation programmes to offer spaces more closely reflecting natural habitats. 50 species will make the move from Bristol Zoo Gardens to the new Bristol Zoo at Wild Place Project. This includes the Western lowland gorillas, blue-eyed black lemurs, Polynesian tree snails, Mindanao bleeding heart dove, Tarictic hornbill, Socorro dove, European turtle dove, turquoise gecko, lemur leaf frog and Corfu killifish.
Brian Zimmerman, Director of Conservation and Science at Bristol Zoological Society, said: “We’ve developed our animal species plan so that we can really focus our resources on animals that most need our help, and maximise the impact we make to the conservation of wildlife.”
New species will also be moving to the new Bristol Zoo from other zoos and aquariums around the world. Such as: two black rhinoceros, North African red necked ostrich and Grevy’s zebra. By 2035, The Society’s target is for 90% of species to be linked to its conservation work. Construction of the new Bristol Zoo will begin in 2024 and phased over a number of years with Wild Place Project remaining open throughout.