Twycross Zoo £55m revamp to include great apes centre
Twycross Zoo has announced a £55m investment programme aimed at improving welfare the of its animals and boosting visitor numbers.
The attraction, on the Leicestershire-Warwickshire border, claims to be the only zoo in the UK to house all four types of great ape.
It aims to bring bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans together in a new centre over the next 10 years.
Giraffes will also return to the zoo in April as part of the plans.
The new giraffe enclosure will feature a house, open-air paddock and a high-level viewing platform. The animals last featured at the zoo in October 2012.
Chief Executive Dr Sharon Redrobe said £10m would be spent at the zoo over the next three years.
One development, will be a moated island complex for gibbons which is to open in the summer along with a new water play area and cafe.
Dr Redrobe said: "These exciting enhancements and future developments will improve animal welfare standards by creating habitats that more closely resemble those of the natural, wild environment."
A new chimpanzee facility is scheduled for 2016 and will be the first phase of a planned Cognition Centre for the great apes.
Visitors will be able to see the apes carry out cognitive puzzles in the attraction.
The zoo currently attracts about 500,000 visitors a year, including 33,000 school children.
It was opened to the public in 1963 by founders Molly Badham and Nathalie Evans.