04 April 2017

Islands will be closed from 11–22 January to enable us to carry out some enhancements with additional planting and some new arrivals in Monsoon Forest.

Two Moloch gibbons (also known as silvery or Javan gibbons) arrived at the zoo from The Aspinall Foundation on 30 December and moved in to their new home on the island of Sumatra.

One of the Moloch gibbons at Chester Zoo 

In mid-January the Sumatran orangutans that currently live at Chester Zoo will also be moving across to Monsoon Forest to take up residence in their state of the art enclosure. With access to both inside and outside areas of the enclosure we’re expecting visitors to get a different experience of these amazing animals, from the various viewing areas. 

By keeping the visible barriers between the visitors and the animals to an absolute minimum, we’re sure that there will be an opportunity for some very special moments. You can find out more about the design of the new enclosure, here.

The Bornean orangutans and lar gibbons will stay in The Realm of the Red Ape giving visitors two opportunities to see these amazing primates in action. We’re also hoping that with time the two gibbon groups might communicate with each other across the zoo, using their distinctive ‘whooping’ call.

Nick Davis, Assistant Curator for Mammals has been working on the plans for the orangutan move.

Moving animals is always a challenging process but we’re confident that the Sumatran orangutans will settle well in their new home. We’ll need to be patient and allow them to explore their new surroundings but we’re working hard to ensure that they’ll be visible in time for the opening of Islands on 23 January.

There will also be some other maintenance and enhancement works taking place during this period including maintenance to pathways, rock work and the Lazy River boat trip operation. The Lazy River boat trip is planned to reopen before the end of January.

Mark Pilgrim, Chester Zoo’s Director General, said:

Islands was designed to evolve and to grow over time and we’re really delighted that the next phase will bring new species and new experiences for our visitors.

We hope that the closure of Islands for this short period in January doesn’t inconvenience our visitors too much and we’re sure that the results will be worth it as they explore Islands in the year ahead.