BLACKPOOL’S family of orang-utans have a reason to be happy.
For their home at the resort’s zoo is in line for a £600,000 upgrade.
The work will see the ape house, which was originally built in the 1970s, initially tripled in size to make it wider and higher with an upstairs viewing area and extended keeper facilities.
A new, wider external walkway will be developed which will lead upstairs to an open plan viewing area, the ceiling will be higher and the new house will feature more efficient heating and improved lighting.
The refurbishment is part of a three-phase development which will be carried out over the next few years.
The next two stages will see the orang-utan’s outside area extended and made higher, a new play area for young visitors being developed across from the enclosure and the gorilla house will also be renovated and expanded.
Orang-utans Vicky and her daughters, Cherie and Summer, along with resident male Ramon, will move to Chester Zoo in January while the work is being carried out and will return for the unveiling of their new living quarters next spring.
Blackpool Zoo managing director Darren Webster said: “We are delighted the planning and funding has been approved for this development and the new facility will be fantastic for our apes.
“Visitors will also benefit from improved views of the animals, which are firm favourites here in Blackpool.
“By working very closely with our keepers and Zootech we are confident everyone, especially our orang-utans, will be delighted with the changes.”