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Chester Zoo 'playground' for orangutans and gibbons opens

The 3,607 m sq "playground" is part of the zoo's £30m Islands project Image copyright Chester Zoo
Image caption The"playground" is part of Chester Zoo's £30m Islands project

A new "playground" for endangered orangutans and gibbons has opened at Chester Zoo.

Seven Sumatran orangutans and three silvery gibbons will use the new climbing poles, trees and sway poles.

The exhibit is part of the zoo's £30m Islands project which is home to animals including tigers.

Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals, said without "vital conservation efforts" the primates could become extinct in the near future.

Image copyright Chester Zoo
Image caption Conservationists estimate that fewer than 6,500 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild

The zoo said the "playground" also includes breeding facilities, rockwork and webbing.

It added that the sway poles move similarly to trees when orangutans move from one to another above the forest canopy when foraging for food.

Conservationists estimate that fewer than 6,500 Sumatran orangutans and fewer than 4,500 silvery gibbons are left in the wild.

Image copyright Chester Zoo
Image caption A 12-day-old silvery gibbon is among the three silvery gibbons that will use the new site

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