Here are the new attractions set to open at Blackpool Zoo this year - and why they will help species in ‘crisis’

Several new attractions are to open at Blackpool Zoo this year, with building work already underway there.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 10:25 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 12:14 pm
The Rainbow Landings aviary will help the threatened songbird
The Rainbow Landings aviary will help the threatened songbird

New aviaries are being built – called Rainbow Landings and World of Wings – while new ‘Actions Dinos’ will be put inside the existing Dinosaur Safari zone, which has been refurbished over the winter months.

Bosses at the Spanish-owned tourist trap have not commented on how much they’re spending, though the work continues their investment in the East Park Drive attraction.

Last year, a new elephant house, complete with new herd from Twycross, opened after a £5 million project – which was described by director Darren Webster as the “largest single investment” the zoo had had.

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'Action Dinos' are to be placed in the existing Dinosaur Safari zone, which has been refurbished over the winter

The old elephant house, which also housed a number of reptiles, has now been closed off, as has the adjacent Amazonia walk-through aviary, with a sign telling visitors: “Sorry, Amazonia and the reptile house are closed. World of Wings will open here late spring.”

A new aviary is also being built nearby, beside the aardvark house, with signs saying the area is “being developed for our brand new songbird aviary”. That will be called Rainbow Landings, it is understood, and will open in the summer alongside the Action Dinos.

Wooden walkways and bridges have been rebuilt inside the existing model dinosaur area, while some areas have been marked out in white paint.

The new attractions are being promoted in new leaflets handed out to visitors, while head of birds Luke Forster gave zoo members a “first look at plans” at an exclusive talk at 11am on Saturday.

The old elephant and reptile house, and walk-through Amazonia aviary, have been closed off to allow for World of Wings to be built

He gave “an important message about the plight of Asian songbirds”, while a children’s workshop – for those three-seven – was also held.

“Low public awareness is a major issue in the songbird crisis,” according to the Silent Forest campaign, which hopes to mitigate the impact of what it said is the “excessive but culturally deep-rooted consumption for trade, singing competitions, pets, status symbols, export, traditional medicine, and food”.

It said: “Demand for songbirds in Southeast Asia is extremely high, affecting hundreds of species and involving millions of individual birds, annually.

“The degree of pressure on songbirds in Asia is devastating and has long been grossly underestimated,” it added, saying it was looking to zoos to help save the birds from extinction.