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With over 20,000 animals and more than 500 different species, Chester Zoo is the UK’s number one zoo. The large collection of animals includes some of the most exotic and endangered species on the planet. Below is an insight into some of the animals that you will find at Chester Zoo.
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The History of Chester Zoo
George Mottershead The Founder of Chester Zoo
Back at the turn of the twentieth century, a boy named George Mottershead was taken to a zoo in Manchester. What George saw that day inspired him to do something different.
Determinedly he told his father: ‘When I have a zoo, it won’t have any bars.’
George never forgot that day, or the vow he made.
The Birth of Chester Zoo
In 1930, George Mottershead and his family bought Oakfield House and seven acres of land for £3,500. He brought a group of animals from a zoo at Shavington, near Crewe with him. This group of animals were the first animals to be based at Chester Zoo.
The zoo opened in 1931, and in 1934, the North of England Zoological Society was born. Despite being a challenge, George kept the zoo open through the Second World War.
Once the war was over, the zoo expanded rapidly. One of the zoo’s slogans back then was, ‘Always building’.
When George died in 1978, aged 84, his dream of a ‘zoo without bars’ was well and truly flourishing at Chester.
Present Day Chester Zoo
The original Oakfield House and stable block, are now Grade II listed. At the time of writing, there are 170 buildings at Chester Zoo.
Chester Zoo is the most-visited wildlife attraction in Britain. It holds the title of the UK’s most popular zoo, and is one of the Top 15 zoos in the world.
How amazed and proud George Mottershead would be today, to see the huge estate that Chester Zoo now occupies. It is a total size of approximately 500 acres. The zoo itself occupies a massive 125 acres which is more than ten times the size of the first bit of land that George bought in 1930.
Animals and Exhibits Chester Zoo
One of the first exhibits as you enter the attraction is the magnificent herd of elephants. An amazing start to your day out at Chester Zoo. Usually led by the oldest female, elephants are intelligent and sociable animals who live together in family groups. Aung Bo the bull elephant joined the attraction in 2012.
The elephants most distinctive feature is their long trunks which can be very powerful, but also very delicate when needed to forage for food.
The beautiful Sumatran tigers are a magnificent sight. They’re also incredibly precious as they’re so rare.
With are only a few hundred of these precious animals left in the wild, Chester Zoo are doing all they can to stop them becoming extinct.
Sumatran tigers are brilliant swimmers thanks to their webbed paws. Lookout for mother and daughter, Kirana and Kasarna, splashing around in the pool or sunbathing on the rocks. Sumatran tigers are the smallest of all tigers and their low stance lets them creep up on prey unseen. Their stripes are narrower and closer together than those of other tigers.
Islands at Chester Zoo
The Islands at Chester Zoo are one of the parks newest attractions. Here you can explore the amazing tropical environments of South East Asia which they have recreated at Chester Zoo. Head out on your wildlife expedition exploring six South East Asian islands and become real life conservationists.
Find some of the world’s most magnificent wildlife as you explore the island habitats of Panay, Papua, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi. Look out for carnivorous plants, prehistoric-looking birds and the impressive Sunda gharial, a type of crocodile.
You’ll feel like a group of intrepid explorers learning real life conservation skills.
As you make your way through the bamboo forest, watch out for tigers. Observe the macaques on Sulawesi and record the many different birds found in the Monsoon Forest. Cross the Dragon Bridge between Papua and Bali and then take the Lazy River Boat Trip from Sumba.
The two-toed sloth does everything while hanging upside down from trees, including eating, sleeping, mating and even giving birth!
sleeping for up to 15 hours a day to conserve their energy. Sloths move very slowly which is mostly down to their diet which is mainly made up of low-energy food like leaves and fruit.
The sloths have a very powerful grip which is handy when you spend a lot of time hanging in trees. Their long claws curve around tree branches like a safety harness.
Despite their powerful grip, sloths actually have a relatively low muscle mass of around 25% – mammals usually have around twice as much.
View the sloths clinging on to trees or exploring their aerial habitat right above your heads inside Spirit of the Jaguar.
The two-toed sloth, named Tina, arrived in 2012 after moving from a zoo in Germany where she was born in 2011.
Chester Zoo is home to two beautiful jaguars, Goshi and Napo. Napo has a sleek golden coat, patterned with black spots in the centre of dark rosette-shaped circles.
The Jaguars camouflage coat blends in with their surroundings which helps them when they hunt for food. Goshi the other jaguar is more unusual. She is sometimes known as “the black panther” because there is so much dark colouring her smooth coat that she looks completely black from a distance.
The jaguars are based in their own impressive exhibit called Spirit of the Jaguar, where the habitat is designed to cater for their needs. Within Spirit of the Jaguar there are both indoor and outdoor areas. The jaguars have poles to climb on, outside dens, sun spots, and outside pools to practice their excellent swimming skills. The exhibit also houses other South American species, including tropical fish, yellow-spotted Amazonian river turtles and a pair of two-toed sloth.
One of the most recognisable birds in the world are Penguins. Their black and white colours are designed help camouflage them in the water. The Penguins black backs blend in with the water from above and their white front mixes with the sunlight from below.
Humboldt Penguins are astonishingly good swimmers and can fly through the water at up to 25mph! You can great view of the penguins at the underwater viewing area. Humboldt penguins are very curious birds and may well pause mid-flight to watch you watching them!
Humboldt penguins are social animals, in the wild they live in relatively large colonies along the coast of Chile and Peru. There are approximately 50 Humboldt penguins at Chester Zoo. The Humboldt Penguins at Chester Zoo are part of a European breeding programme, so they’re extremely important.
Their colony has an excellent breeding record and many of the zoos youngsters have gone on to join breeding groups in other zoos.
Rothschild Giraffes can grow to six metres high so you’ll easily see their long necks and giant-sized legs. Their tongues are a whopping length too measuring up to 45cm in length. Ideal for helping them pull down leaves, shoots, bark and flowers off tree branches to eat.
Rothschild giraffes are the world’s second rarest with only a few hundred left in the wild.
There is a good collection of Giraffes at Chester Zoo with many of them bred on-site.
The blotchy pattern of each giraffe’s coat is different from any other. You can tell Rothschilds Giraffes apart from other types of giraffe because they have no markings on their lower legs, it’s as if they’re wearing white socks!
Giraffes spend 16-20 hours a day feeding. Males feed with their neck and head stretched upwards, while females tend to put their head down, feeding off ground level grasses and shrubs. They have a special valve in their neck that stops the blood rushing to their head when they bend down.
Attractions Near Me OffersChester Zoo was last modified: January 20th, 2018 by
Chester Zoo, Moston Road, Upton, Chester CH2 1EUOpening Times vary, see website for details
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