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Chester Zoo pulls record 2m visitors a year after blaze

orangutans Image copyright Chester Zoo
Image caption The zoo accommodates more than 20,000 animals, including these orangutans

A year after it was hit by a major blaze, Chester Zoo has had a record number of visitors.

The zoo - already the UK's most popular - drew two million visitors in a year for the first time, a spokesman said.

The Monsoon Forest section, which houses wildlife from South East Asia, is due to reopen in 2020 after the blaze in December 2018.

Chief executive Mark Pilgrim said visitors were "vital to our efforts to protect wildlife extinction globally".

"It's absolutely crucial that more people sit up and take urgent notice of the threats facing wildlife and fully embrace the different ways that they can help make a difference," he explained.

Image copyright Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service
Image caption More than 80 firefighters tackled the blaze in the Monsoon Forest area in 2018

Last December, some animals died in the fire, which was caused by an electrical fault.

The zoo accommodates more than 20,000 creatures from 500 different species and is the country's most visited paid attraction outside London.

In September, Cheshire West and Chester Council approved the zoo's plan for its Grasslands development, which is set to open with 28 "discreet" lodges, 14 "rigid tents" and a restaurant in 2022.

Image copyright Chester Zoo
Image caption The zoo is the country's most visited paid attraction outside London

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