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New £500k bespoke colobus monkey habitat opens

PUBLISHED 29/05/2024

Now open: New colobus monkey habitat with stunning views of the South Downs

Nestled against the stunning backdrop of the rolling Sussex Downs, our most ambitious zoo project to date is now open! A half a million-pound, bespoke, conservation-themed habitat for our colobus monkeys.

Custom designed and built for the lively troop, this exciting space represents our largest investment yet in animal habitats. The breathtaking new area provides a naturalistic, enriching home for the colobus, alongside promoting conservation and responsible eco-tourism.

After a year of careful planning, work began on the project in September 2023 on the site of the former wallaby and agouti habitats. Despite the great British weather doing its best to de-rail everyone’s hard work, the habitat was completed on time and the colobus troop made their exciting move last week. Keepers were delighted with how well the monkey group settled and made themselves at home and half-term visitors were soon able to get their first look at this truly exceptional animal habitat.

Every aspect of the new colobus home has been carefully researched and considered, with a strong focus on best practice in animal welfare. The innovative habitat offers the animals a wide variety of choice and activities, and an experience as close to their natural environment as possible. To help create a stimulating environment there are both custom built enrichment features to encourage natural foraging behaviour, and bespoke branch climbing structures, for the lively primates to swing, hang, rest, and play on.

Visitors will also spot a bespoke, hand-carved rockwork terrace in the new habitat, which offers the cheeky monkey gang endless nooks and crannies for climbing, resting, and hiding. There is even a custom-built heated tree offering the monkeys another place to keep cosy and comfortable when the colder weather hits. Plus, a hand painted mural, to add interest and colour and increase the lush, green, ‘jungle’ feel of the new development.

Tree top viewing platforms offer visitors to the park unparalleled opportunities to observe the colobus and provide a unique insight into the behaviour and habits of the troop of eight. We have also installed CCTV in all areas of the habitat to monitor behaviour such as feeding and breeding, to facilitate the our research and conservation work with other zoos and zoo associations around the world.

The unique new habitat also incorporates a series of jungle-style themed huts, currently being built along the perimeter of the space. The huts are intended to resemble kiosks in the colobus native country Africa, where locals sell goods before tourists are taken on eco tours. As well as providing an additional source of enrichment for the monkeys to explore and investigate, the huts have been included in the habitat design to promote responsible ecotourism.


The focus on ecotourism was important to us due to our new partnership with Colobus Conservation, who provide eco-tours to visitors and locals to support the Angloan Colobus monkeys in the Diani region. Established in 1997, the charity was created in response to the high number of deaths of colobus monkeys on the Diani Beach road. Over the last 25 years, Colobus Conservation have done some incredible work promoting the conservation, preservation, and protection of Colobus monkeys and their coastal forest habitat. 

Our hope is that alongside creating a wonderful new environment for the colobus monkeys to live in, we can also raise funds and increase awareness about the essential work charities do to help conserve wildlife. We also hope to provide human resources out in Kenya, so the zoo’s keepers get the chance to see Colobus Conservation's amazing work in person.

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