9 Mar 2015
One hundred and sixty two of the 301 new starters at Chester Zoo are inducted in readiness for the opening of the zoo’s new Islands zone in June.

Islands, the biggest development in the history of UK zoos, will recreate habitats from six areas in South East Asia – Panay, Papua, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi. It will be home to a number of animals classed as critically endangered in the wild, including Sumatran tigers, Sumatran orangutans and Visayan warty pigs. With three months to go until Islands is unveiled, a total of 301 new starters have been employed at the Cheshire-based conservation and education charity across a variety of different departments. These include 45 new positions and 256 seasonal staff. The zoo also hopes to take on another 100 in the next few weeks. Jane Hubbard, head of HR, said: “Working at Chester Zoo gets into your blood. It’s such a unique environment. All of these new starters can now boast that their office is a 125-acre zoo!” Chester Zoo now employs 336 people on a permanent basis.

Island facts

    • Work began in August 2013

      It is set to open in June 2015

      It is currently one of the biggest construction sites in the UK

      Visitors will move through recreations of habitats from Panay, Papua, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi, walking through different levels, travelling in boats and seeing buildings just like the real thing. It will create the feeling of an expedition and make visitors feel like they’re following in the footsteps of the great explorers

      42,000 plants will be used to recreate the environments of the six different islands

      The flagship indoor building that will be part of Islands will be called Monsoon Forest – the largest indoor zoo exhibit in the UK. It will be totally unique in this country and will feature free flight birds, Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques and Sunda gharial crocodiles

      Other animals include anoa, banteng, babirusa, Bali starling, Sumatran tiger and the Visayan warty pig

      The zoo hopes that by showcasing animals like this, then visitors seeing animals in an even more naturalistic setting than ever before, will make more of an emotional connection with them. If people care about a species they’re more likely to help save them

      Website: www.chesterzoo.org/islands