Natwest get down to monkey business at Twycross Zoo

Dr Sharon Redrobe
X The Business Desk

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Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire has opened Gibbon Forest, one of the largest gibbon enclosures in Europe. This is the most ambitious development to date in the zoo’s £55m capital investment programme, which is supported by NatWest.

Gibbon Forest is 10 times larger than the primates’ previous enclosure and is specifically designed to replicate the natural forest environment, in addition to providing an exciting new experience for visitors.

Specially designed for the four different species of gibbon that are cared for at the zoo, the enclosure cost a total of £2m. Having used the bank for support with the new giraffe habitat last year, chief executive Sharon Redrobe worked closely with relationship director, Jayne Hickson to secure the funding.

The amount was provided with a two-year capital repayment holiday, allowing the zoo time to build its customer base before repaying the loan. Spread over a timeframe of 15 years, the facility is flexible enough to coincide with the other developments that are due in the next few years, contributing towards the zoo’s 20-year modernisation plans.

Redrobe said: “Scientific knowledge about natural animal behaviour and understanding of welfare standards is constantly advancing, and zoos need to evolve to reflect this. Gibbon Forest is the most significant development in Twycross Zoo’s history and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to wildlife conservation, as well as our ambition to offer visitors a fun and interesting day out.

“NatWest’s support is helping us to redevelop the zoo rapidly and with half term approaching we are excited to see our visitors’ reaction to the new Gibbon Forest habitat.”

Hickson said: “I have a personal affinity with Twycross Zoo, having been a regular customer from a young age. I’m delighted to be working in partnership with the zoo to create an experience that can be enjoyed by all ages for another 50 years or more.”

As part of its masterplan Twycross Zoo is planning a new chimp enclosure, which will again be fully funded by NatWest.