World News – GB – Monsoon Forest building at Chester Zoo reopens 2 years after fire


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The Monsoon Forest at Chester Zoo – the UK’s largest zoological building – is set to reopen to visitors, nearly two years after a devastating fire ravaged it

Zookeepers rescued and drove many animals to safety as firefighters tackled a massive blaze that devastated part of Chester Zoo’s monsoon forest habitat in December 2018

Back then, conservationists were working around the clock to move animals, including Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques, lizards, turtles and hornbills, to new areas within the 128 acres of the zoo

Today, almost two years after the fire and once the animals have resettled, the 3,000 m2 building is expected to reopen to visitors after lovingly restored to its former glory

The « incredible building » is home to nearly 70 different animal species, many of which are highly endangered in the wild, including silver gibbons, rhinoceros hornbills, Sunda gharial crocodiles, and tentacle snakes – a reptile that is commonly seen. not seen anywhere else in the UK

It also has its own weather system allowing it to « rain indoors » and reach temperatures as high as 27 ° C, Monsoon Forest faithfully reproduces the climate of Southeast Asia

A team of botanical experts spent eight weeks installing 2,600 tropical plants and trees, including carnivorous nepenthes that catch and eat insects, fruit trees such as coconuts, cacao, mango, and fig which provide a natural food source for dozens of birds, as well as giant palm trees reaching heights of 20 feet

Conservationists at the zoo hope that the reopening of the Monsoon Forest will once again put the spotlight on some of the world’s most endangered species and inspire visitors to help protect their future

Dr Mark Pilgrim, CEO of Chester Zoo, said: « Monsoon Forest is an amazing building – there is nothing else like it in the UK

« It’s a little piece of Southeast Asian rainforest in Cheshire To see it again teeming with life – tropical trees full of birds, gibbons singing their calls and waterfalls that crash – barely two years after the terrible fire, it really gives me goosebumps

« This place is a real showcase for the essential conservation work that the Chester Zoo is doing to help prevent the extinction of so many wonderful species across South East Asia It’s immersive, this exalts the senses and connects people to the incredible animals in which it is at home like no other zoological building

« For all of these reasons, he simply had to bounce back from the tragic events of 2018, and I am so proud of the team that brought him back to its former glory »

A conservation fundraising page, which was set up in response to a deluge of support offers, raised more than £ 220,000 in just one week after the fire

The funds are spent on the zoo’s charitable mission of preventing extinction, particularly to help further protect species in Southeast Asia

Dr Pilgrim added: “The fire was such a heartbreaking event and something we will never forget. However, the legacy of what happened in terms of the incredible outpouring of love and of support directed at the zoo as the tragedy unfolded, will have a lasting impact

« Already the funds raised through the incredible spontaneous donations that have been received have done fantastic good – for vital conservation work here at the zoo and in South East Asia

« One of those projects was the support of the Borneo Nature Foundation and their incredible efforts to put out the massive forest fires that ravaged parts of Borneo last year The money raised has helped protect the vital rainforest habitat that thousands of species inhabit « 

Monsoon forest is the centerpiece of the zoo’s island area, which highlights a number of highly endangered species from across Southeast Asia

Inside the islands, visitors can go on their own expedition, walk on bridges, travel by boat, and see buildings that are architecturally identical to those on the islands of Panay, Papua, Bali, Sumba and Sulawesi

Chester Zoo, Cheshire

News from the world – GB – Monsoon Forest building at Chester Zoo reopens 2 years after fire



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