20 Dec 2019

A record number of people have flocked to the zoo in the last year – with two million visitors recorded for the first time.

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New figures, released today, have revealed that we have broken every attendance record since opening we opened in 1931.

This new milestone will ensure that we continue to lead the fight to prevent extinction and protect the future of threatened species on the planet, while providing a significant boost the visitor economy in the North West of England.

Income generated by visitors is enabling us to make a huge, positive impact on wildlife in more than 30 countries worldwide. Key initiatives this year have included scientific research into habitats and diseases, animal welfare knowledge and technical expertise, as well as ground-breaking awareness campaigns.


The fantastic support of our visitors and members is vital to our efforts to protect wildlife extinction globally

Mark Pilgrim, Chief Executive Officer

“This year alone, we’ve helped to return five critically endangered Eastern black rhinos to an area where they had previously been extinct in Rwanda. Our team carried out the world’s first radio tagging of a giant pangolin, one of the world’s most trafficked animals, to help us gather data about their movements in Uganda. Thousands of rare, zoo-bred snails were flown to Bermuda and French Polynesia to be reintroduced to the wild and, at home in the UK, hundreds of endangered large heath butterflies have been bred at the zoo ready for release next year in Manchester’s mosslands. We also made Chester the world’s first ‘Sustainable Palm Oil City’ which has raised the profile of one of the biggest threats to the future of orangutans – the unsustainable palm oil industry. Meanwhile, our scientific breakthrough in EEHV research, a deadly virus that is decimating Asian elephant numbers globally, led to the first ever successful treatment of a calf at the zoo, while we’ve welcomed a host of new arrivals across the many carefully coordinated breeding programmes we play a vital part in.

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. This is something our education programmes constantly champion. We can all come together and bring a halt to biodiversity loss.”

As well as having a positive environmental impact, the boom in visitors has contributed to the wider economy in the North West and given a boost to jobs and tourism in the region.

Jamie Christon, Chief Operating Officer, added:

“Two million people visiting the zoo, including record membership numbers, is a real boost to our conservation efforts and provides great benefits to the surrounding area – bringing £50m every year to the region’s economy. What is more, we now employ up to 1,000 members of staff in peak summer months, which means more people than ever are working to help prevent extinction.

“Thank you to every single person that has visited the zoo and left feeling more empowered to protect wildlife. You have helped us to protect endangered species around the world.”

Your Visit

Your zoo ADVENTURE starts right here! Plan your BEST DAY and explore Chester Zoo. There’s plenty to do – so make the most of your day out.


This is a LITTLE note to say a BIG thank you. It’s because of YOU, we are one step closer to PREVENTING EXTINCTION.

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