A SPECIAL event will be held next week to mark the start of construction work at Chester Zoo on what will be the largest indoor zoo exhibit in the UK.
An unoccupied part of the zoo estate is being transformed into the exotic islands of the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi.
The construction of a new Indonesian jungle house – which will be called Monsoon Forest – is an integral part of the ambitious £30 million Islands project.
Linked by a series of bridges and including a journey on water, Islands will be home to animals and plants from south east Asian islands.
The scheme will bring conservation to life in what is one of the biggest zoo developments in Europe and will take visitors on their own personal expedition.
Ground-breaking for Monsoon Forest will be carried out on September 10 by the Duke of Westminster who is president of the zoo.
Mark Pilgrim, director general of Chester Zoo, said: “Monsoon Forest will be one of the showpieces of Islands and home to a wide array of animals including Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques and a new species for the zoo, the sunda gharial crocodile.
“This particular building will be the largest of its kind in a UK zoo and indeed Islands itself will transform the zoo so it becomes one of the biggest in Europe.
“The ground-breaking event is an important milestone in the construction of Islands.”
Islands is set to open to the public in 2015 and construction work is being carried out by engineering company Laing O’Rourke.
The Duke of Westminster said: “I am delighted to be invited to take part in the ground-breaking ceremony.
“It brings me such pleasure to see the zoo continue to flourish and maintain its position as one of the leading conservation institutions in Europe and I look forward to visiting the completed Monsoon Forest in 2015.”