Skip to content

British Zoo Creates Africa Forest Habitat For Endangered Animals

Bristol Zoo's ambitious plans to conserve and protect threatened species take shape with new Central African Forest habitat.

Some of the world’s most endangered animals are to live together for the first time at a British zoo – as it creates an Africa forest habitat.


Critically endangered western lowland gorillas, endangered cherry-crowned mangabeys, crocodiles, parrots and fish will have a home at the new site.


It is part of ambitious plans to conserve and protect some of the world’s most threatened species. Conservation and education charity Bristol Zoological Society has secured planning approval to create a new Central African Forest habitat at its Bristol Zoo Project site.


Work will begin this spring and see the zoo’s existing gorilla troop joined by a new group of mangabeys, as well as Critically Endangered slender-snouted crocodiles, Endangered African grey parrots and several extremely threatened species of West African freshwater fish.


The development is a major step forward in the Society’s plan to create a new, cutting-edge conservation zoo. At least 80 percent of species will be connected to its conservation work in the UK and around the world.


To mark this milestone, new CGI film clips have been released by the Society which give visitors an exciting glimpse of how the new habitat will look when it opens next year.


The gorillas and mangabeys will be living in an area four and a half times the size of the gorilla troop’s current home at the former Bristol Zoo Gardens. Central African Forest will make the most of the wooded area of the zoo’s 136-acre site in South Gloucestershire.


It has been designed to evoke a sense of the dense forest and landscape of Equatorial Guinea, where the Society runs one of its largest conservation projects focused on gorillas and other threatened forest species.


Like the attraction’s award-winning Bear Wood, the new habitat will have integrated learning spaces, enabling students, visitors and schoolchildren to observe, record and appreciate animals in a natural scene, connecting people to threatened wildlife and animals in an immersive landscape.


“All of the mammals, birds, reptiles and fish that will live in Central African Forest are classified as threatened in the wild. The creation of this habitat not only presents a unique opportunity for us to bring these wonderful creatures together and expand our conservation work, it also enables us to participate in, and lead, managed breeding programs, which will help to protect them in the future,” said Brian Zimmerman, Director of Conservation and Science at Bristol Zoological Society.


“We are thrilled to have secured planning permission for this new habitat, which is a major step forward in our vision to create a modern conservation zoo with animals living in spaces more closely reflecting their natural habitats. Creating a new environment such as this helps to raise vital awareness of the risks these species are facing and the efforts we can all take to Save Wildlife Together,” said Justin Morris, Chief Executive at Bristol Zoological Society.


“Work on the new habitat will begin in the spring and is expected to be complete next year. In the future, we will also be building new visitor facilities and a conservation campus for students studying to become conservationists. This is a really exciting time not only for the zoo but also for our visitors, partners and supporters. Conservation zoos have a critical role to play in working with communities and connecting them with wildlife,” he added.


There are also plans for a Central African Savannah habitat, which will see black rhinos and ostriches join giraffes, zebras and cheetahs, as well as improvements to the existing Walled Garden, including the creation of new aviaries.


Bristol Zoo Project, which is located near Junction 17 of the M5, will remain open throughout the development work. The attraction is already home to animals from around the world including giraffes, cheetahs, zebras, wolves, bears, lynx, deer, ostrich, gelada baboons and lemurs.


Bristol Zoological Society works in seven countries across three continents, directing 14 field conservation projects with 31 local partner organisations, that conserve and protect some of the world’s most threatened species.

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”

Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.

Check out our free email newsletters

Recommended from our partners