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Chester Zoo’s Monsoon Forest Is Finally Reopening Following The Huge Fire Two Years Ago

By Laura Rogan October 23, 2020

The devastating fire in 2018 destroyed the rainforest-inspired habitat.

Announcing the grand reopening of the Monsoon Forest following its closure two years ago, Chester Zoo has unveiled the first look of the brand new habitat, where a number of the zoo’s animals have settled in already.

Closing as a result of a devastating fire which destroyed the building and killed a number of animals, the Monsoon Forest has been rebuilt to its former glory, replicating the climate of South East Asia for 70 different species – with a number of fantastic features throughout including a controlled weather system which allows temperatures to reach up to 27 degrees and includes an indoor rain feature. Not only that, but the team has also included a number of natural food sources for the animals to enjoy, including fruit trees such as coconut and mango and carnivorous nepenthes plants which catch insects.

Credit: Chester Zoo

Speaking of the rebuilt habitat, Dr Mark Pilgrim, CEO at Chester Zoo, said: “Monsoon Forest is an incredible building – there’s nothing else quite like it in the UK.

“It’s a little piece of South-East Asian rainforest in Cheshire. To see it once again brimming with life – tropical trees full of birds, gibbons singing their calls and crashing waterfalls – just two years after the awful fire, really does give me goosebumps.

“This place is a real showcase for the vital conservation work that Chester Zoo carries out to help prevent the extinction of so many wonderful species throughout South East Asia. It’s immersive, it exhilarates the senses and it connects people with the amazing animals it’s home to like no other zoological building.

“For all of those reasons it simply had to bounce back from the tragic events of 2018, and I’m so proud of the team that has restored it to its former glory.”

Credit: Chester Zoo

Adding: “The fire was such a heart-breaking event and something we’ll never forget. However, the legacy of what happened in terms of the incredible outpouring of love and support directed at the zoo as the tragedy unfolded, will have a lasting impact.”

At the time of the fire, £220,000 was spontaneously donated to the zoo by supporters, which will now be used to help their conservation work at both the zoo and in South East Asia. The projects help to support other foundations, including the Borneo Nature Foundation, and helps to protect vital rainforest habitat, thus helping to protect species from becoming endangered or extinct.

The Monsoon Forest is home to Sumatran orangutans, birds, gibbons, lizards crocodile and even snakes.