Work starts on Dudley Zoo's new orangutan enclosure after lockdown delay

Work has started on Dudley Zoo and Castle's new outdoor orangutan enclosure.

Sprout, the zoo’s juvenile orangutan, who recently celebrated her tenth birthday
Sprout, the zoo’s juvenile orangutan, who recently celebrated her tenth birthday

An empty paddock adjacent to the current area has been cleared in preparation for building work – which will see the space transformed for the zoo's Bornean orangutans Benji, Jazz and Sprout.

Zoo director, Derek Grove, said: “No one is more delighted than I am to be part of the team that will help deliver this additional facility for these wonderful animals.

“Three lockdowns in the past 12 months has meant we have had to delay some of our major site development, but we have always been determined to deliver our updated plans for our orangutans.”

Amended plans, at a cost of £500,000, will now see the grassy paddock encompassed with a high mesh and glass barrier, with a semi-circular overhang at the top, which the orangutans will be able to access from their current dens.

Primate keeper Louisa Dorrington and section leader Pat Stevens celebrate the start of work on the new orangutan enclosure

A large timber climbing frame, hammocks and ropes will keep the arboreal great apes active and an outdoor heated shelter will keep them warm on cooler days.

Once the new outdoor exhibit is completed, it is hoped the zoo can secure additional funding to redevelop and combine the current outdoor space.

Money has been raised with the help of fundraisers and visitor donations over the last few years.

The Castle Hill attraction is currently preparing to reopen from Monday, April 12. Pre-booked only tickets are now available from the zoo’s website at www.dudleyzoo.org.uk.

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