Dudley Zoo In Line For £275k Revamp To Bring Visitors Closer To Animals

Dudley Zoo’s farm and four of the enclosures are in line for a revamp to bring visitors even closer to the animals.

Chief executive of the Castle Hill attraction, Derek Grove, has revealed details of major work planned during 2017 as part of its five-year re-development programme. Each of the projects aims to give the creatures more space at the same time as giving visitors a better view of them regardless of whether the animals are outside or taking shelter inside.

The zoo has also unveiled a new logo ahead of its 80th year reflecting the animals, Dudley Castle, the ancient wooded hillside and Modernist Tecton structures. Mr Grove, said:

“We wanted a logo that people could easily recognise as being Dudley Zoo and Rachel Lane’s design, which was voted for by our staff members, should do just that by incorporating all the important elements generally associated with the site.”

The biggest scheme planned for next year, costing £100,000, is work to increase the size of the snow leopard enclosure, which is due to be completed by the summer. By extending the one side of the existing exhibit, bosses will also be raising the height of the enclosure and the viewing area due to the gradient of the land. Mr Grove said this would give visitors to the zoo, which celebrates its 80th anniversary next year, better opportunities to see the cats:

“Snow leopards, like all animals, like to be up high but this means they can be harder to spot. All the work we are doing its about giving the animals better facilities and making sure our visitors can see them.

“Historically this is something hasn’t done particularly well. We’ve thought of the animals and what they need but not necessarily what the visitors want.

“We know that if visitors come on a wet day they might be miserable because of the weather and might not be able to see many animals because they are all taking shelter in the warmth under a heat.

There also plans to improve facilities for younger visitors by extending the farmyard which is popular with children and their families. A new barn will also be built as part of the scheme which will cost £90,000 and be completed by Easter. Mr Grove added:

“The farm has always been very popular but it’s very old. We want to have a barn which is two and a half times bigger and have more space for the farmyard. It’s all about giving our young visitors a better experience.

"They are far more interested in holding a chick or stroking a rabbit than they are seeing a lion lying down a distance away. It’s really important that we cater for age ranges. We know people who came to the zoo as children, then they brought their own children and now they are bringing their grandchildren.”

The other projects include a new parrot aviary which will cost £40,000 and be completed by Whitsun. The three existing small aviaries, which date back to the 1980s, will be replaced with a much larger single aviary. The final scheme is the small cat enclosure which will be completed by Easter.


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