Work has officially begun on the new outdoor orangutan enclosure at Dudley Zoo.

The zoo's gardening team have cleared the adjacent empty enclosure in preparation for building work, which will see the area transformed for their Bornean orangutans, Benji, Jazz and Sprout.

Zoo Director Derek Grove, said: “No one is more delighted than I am to be part of the team that will help deliver this additional facility for these wonderful animals.

“Three lockdowns in the past 12 months has meant we’ve had to delay some of our major site development, but we’ve always been determined to deliver our updated plans for our orangutans.”

Amended plans, at a cost of £500,000, will now see the grassy paddock encompassed with a high mesh and glass barrier, with a semi-circular overhang at the top, which the orangutans will be able to access from their current dens.

A large timber climbing frame, hammocks and ropes will keep the arboreal great apes active and an outdoor heated shelter will keep them warm on cooler days.

Once the new outdoor exhibit is completed, Dudley Zoo hopes to secure additional funding to redevelop and combine their current outdoor space.

The money for the new enclosure had been raised with the help of fundraisers and visitor donations.

If you’d like to contribute towards the ongoing development, you can still donate to Dudley Zoo's Orangutan Appeal:

To donate £1, text DZC37 to 70201

To donate £3, text DZC37 to 70331.

To donate £5, text DZC37 to 70970.

Dudley Zoo will reopen to the public on Monday 12 April, to pre-book your tickets, head to dudleyzoo.org.uk