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Bristol Zoo (Clifton) to CLOSE


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Bristol Zoological Society has unveiled plans to relocate Bristol Zoo to its Wild Place Project site to create a world-class zoo and to safeguard the future of the organisation.

The new Bristol Zoo will offer spacious, modern facilities, significant growth in conservation and education work and a ground-breaking, innovative visitor experience.

In order to deliver this ambitious new vision and to secure the future of Bristol Zoo, the Clifton site will be sold.

This follows years of declining visitor numbers to Bristol Zoo Gardens and the organisation having made an operating loss in four of the last six years.

The plans have been announced after the second lockdown forced Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project to close, after months of closure during the peak spring and summer months.

Now Bristol Zoological Society, which owns and operates both Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, plans to take action to ensure a new Bristol Zoo can continue to exist for generations to come, offering millions more people the opportunity to experience a new, transformed Bristol Zoo.

Dr Justin Morris, Chief Executive of Bristol Zoological Society, said: “This year has been by far the most challenging year the Society has faced in its 185-year history.

“But for many years Bristol Zoo Gardens has been struggling with fundamental and persistent challenges. Namely an inability to meet the changing needs of the animals within the available space and infrastructure, and declining visitor numbers.

“These challenges have had an enormous impact on our finances and the impact of Covid-19 has caused us to radically rethink our plans about the future and how we address the fundamental and persistent challenges that we face in order to save Bristol Zoological Society.

“We know that Bristol Zoo Gardens has a special place in the hearts of many, and lots of people have fond memories of visiting the Zoo. But a lot has changed and many of the animals associated with these memories are no longer at Bristol Zoo Gardens, for very valid reasons.   

“This new strategy presents an opportunity to create a world-class zoo that sets the standard for a modern, forward-looking zoo in the 21st century.

“It will be an inspiring, immersive wildlife experience with conservation and sustainability at its heart, where animals will have the space and facilities to thrive.

“New exhibits will link visitors to our conservation projects around the world and provide the tools for visitors to become conservationists themselves.

“The new Bristol Zoo will also be a beacon of environmental sustainability, demonstrating and promoting how together we can save wildlife in the way we live our lives.”

Bristol Zoological Society, which is a registered conservation charity, has 178 active shareholders who elect a board of 12 independent trustees to govern the Society. All 12 trustees recently voted unanimously in support of the Society’s new strategy.

The Executive Board and Trustees of Bristol Zoological Society will be leading a planning permission process to ensure that the future of the Clifton site is something that the organisation will be proud of and leaves a lasting legacy of Bristol Zoo Gardens.

It will include an ‘urban conservation hub’ in the zoo’s iconic main entrance building to ensure the heritage and story of the Clifton site will continue to be told. This would also become the base of the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project community and conservation programmes, an exhibition of Bristol Zoo Gardens’ heritage and a café.

New housing will be created in areas of the site where there are already built structures, and the existing gardens will be largely unchanged.

Bristol Zoo Gardens will remain open until late 2022 and visitors will not see an immediate change while plans are developed further. Wild Place Project will remain open throughout this time, until it becomes the new Bristol Zoo from early 2024.

Charlotte Moar, Chair of Trustees for Bristol Zoological Society, said everyone at the Society recognises the significance of the decision.

She said: “This decision has not been taken lightly and follows a rigorous process of assessing the strategic options over several months, as well as taking independent professional advice from a range of sources to ensure we are doing the best possible thing for the Society’s future.

“Over the next five years, even if we were to sell all our property in Clifton, except Bristol Zoo Gardens, and raise £7 million through philanthropic fundraising, we would still have a capital funding shortfall of £8 million.

“Over 20 years this shortfall increases to £44 million and as a result we would not be able to sustain our two zoos, our education programme and our UK and international conservation programme.

“This new plan ensures that Bristol Zoo continues to exist for generations to come, offering millions more people the opportunity to experience the magic of a new Bristol Zoo.”

Dr Bryan Carroll and Dr Jo Gipps, the former Chief Executives of Bristol Zoological Society, have been supporting and providing advice on the organisation’s new strategy.

Dr Carroll said: “Bristol Zoo has always been at the forefront of leading the transformation in the way animals are cared for, protected and understood. We want to be able to continue that legacy, now and for decades to come.

“But Bristol Zoo Gardens is only 12 acres in size and over many years the number of large animal species has reduced significantly and this trend will only continue. As much as we all love the Clifton site, it is no longer the best place to achieve our ambitious vision for what a modern-day zoo should be.

“The best place to progress our forward-thinking vision is at the Wild Place Project site, which is more than 10 times the size of Bristol Zoo Gardens and offers such a fantastic opportunity to continue the world-class work we have always been known for.”

TAKEN FROM: https://bristolzoo.org.uk/latest-zoo-news/bristol-zoological-society-unveils-new-plan

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  • phantom changed the title to Bristol Zoo (Clifton) to CLOSE

It's always amazed me how the space they have in Clifton has been utilised, you can walk around the outside in less than ten minutes easily, but seemingly walk for miles within the walls. It has been an incredible part of the Bristols history, but clearly had to find more space for the larger animals or let them go to a better environment. I do think that may have had an impact on their attendances though.

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It is a shame. I have many happy memories of childhood visits. It used to be my favourite place anywhere.

Nonetheless, when you visit zoos built on more spacious sites, like Chester, you see how limited Bristol's offer was.

Out of interest, where is the Wild Place site?

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7 minutes ago, Red-Robbo said:

It is a shame. I have many happy memories of childhood visits. It used to be my favourite place anywhere.

Nonetheless, when you visit zoos built on more spacious sites, like Chester, you see how limited Bristol's offer was.

Out of interest, where is the Wild Place site?

Out by Cribbs I believe, on the road towards Severn  Beach

Edited by JamesBCFC
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15 minutes ago, Red-Robbo said:

It is a shame. I have many happy memories of childhood visits. It used to be my favourite place anywhere.

Nonetheless, when you visit zoos built on more spacious sites, like Chester, you see how limited Bristol's offer was.

Out of interest, where is the Wild Place site?

On the other side of the M5 J17 motorway roundabout from Cribbs. Very large plot of land so potential to build something big and in all honesty they have been planning this since the day wild place opened Id say 

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Not that I would ever go to a zoo but this is yet another thing that is great for the people of South Glos, South Wales but unfortunately not South Bristol, this Mayor should remember that the voters in South Bristol have stuck with Labour forever and a day even during the dark days of Thatcherism when it was the only non-London English constituency South of Birmingham 

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16 minutes ago, Galway Red said:

Not that I would ever go to a zoo but this is yet another thing that is great for the people of South Glos, South Wales but unfortunately not South Bristol, this Mayor should remember that the voters in South Bristol have stuck with Labour forever and a day even during the dark days of Thatcherism when it was the only non-London English constituency South of Birmingham 

Not sure the animals actually get a say in who gets elected.

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29 minutes ago, Midred said:

Has Justin Morris any links to Jonny Morris?

For the younger ones Jonny used to present "Animal Magic" with excerpts filmed at Bristol Zoo

 

 

I was once startled to find Dottie the Ring-tailed Lemur inside a rather dusty cupboard in the bowels of BBC Broadcasting House in Whiteladies Road.

He'd (I think it was a "he") had been stuffed on his demise, but how the deceased primate ended up in a cupboard near the coat racks next to the news studio is a bit of a mystery. 

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25 minutes ago, Red-Robbo said:

 

I was once startled to find Dottie the Ring-tailed Lemur inside a rather dusty cupboard in the bowels of BBC Broadcasting House in Whiteladies Road.

He'd (I think it was a "he") had been stuffed on his demise, but how the deceased primate ended up in a cupboard near the coat racks next to the news studio is a bit of a mystery. 

Was he with Hammy the hamster?

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Like many old duffers now, I have many memories of going to the Zoo as a nipper. Through young eyes it was a marvellous place to see so many animals that otherwise were only seen in black and white. However, the understanding of creatures, their environments, their behaviours and their needs has increased markedly since; clearly there had to be changes to accommodate this and space is a prime restriction in Clifton. It should not come as a great surprise.

I also have memories of some less than pleasant memories of the polar bear pacing up and down constantly (I understand it came from a travelling circus and was used to a miniscule cage before arriving). But that aside it was a good place to spend a day in and feel like you had gone around the globe.

The move to Wild Place seems a logical and practical idea. It should fit in with the current missions on study and conservation. The old site I will suspect of being fattened for the table if some potential buyers are concerned. We'll see, but it would be good to wander into the place and still recognise the layout.

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1 hour ago, Erithacus said:

Like many old duffers now, I have many memories of going to the Zoo as a nipper. Through young eyes it was a marvellous place to see so many animals that otherwise were only seen in black and white. However, the understanding of creatures, their environments, their behaviours and their needs has increased markedly since; clearly there had to be changes to accommodate this and space is a prime restriction in Clifton. It should not come as a great surprise.

I also have memories of some less than pleasant memories of the polar bear pacing up and down constantly (I understand it came from a travelling circus and was used to a miniscule cage before arriving). But that aside it was a good place to spend a day in and feel like you had gone around the globe.

The move to Wild Place seems a logical and practical idea. It should fit in with the current missions on study and conservation. The old site I will suspect of being fattened for the table if some potential buyers are concerned. We'll see, but it would be good to wander into the place and still recognise the layout.

Apparently houses will replace buildings but the green space remains largely as is. 

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So many childhood memories.....Jonny Morris, white tigers, the monkey temple, picnics on the lawn. Sad news indeed.

They tried to move with the times and reduce the amount of large animals but it seems that has not been enough. I wonder how much longer London Zoo can continue.

Edited by Reigate Red
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9 hours ago, Galway Red said:

Not that I would ever go to a zoo but this is yet another thing that is great for the people of South Glos, South Wales but unfortunately not South Bristol, this Mayor should remember that the voters in South Bristol have stuck with Labour forever and a day even during the dark days of Thatcherism when it was the only non-London English constituency South of Birmingham 

But it's not a Council decision, it's the Zoo's decision!! One I welcome if it will safeguard the future of the zoo, and provide the animals with much more space than they have in Clifton.

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14 hours ago, phantom said:

Bristol Zoological Society has unveiled plans to relocate Bristol Zoo to its Wild Place Project site to create a world-class zoo and to safeguard the future of the organisation.

The new Bristol Zoo will offer spacious, modern facilities, significant growth in conservation and education work and a ground-breaking, innovative visitor experience.

In order to deliver this ambitious new vision and to secure the future of Bristol Zoo, the Clifton site will be sold.

This follows years of declining visitor numbers to Bristol Zoo Gardens and the organisation having made an operating loss in four of the last six years.

The plans have been announced after the second lockdown forced Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project to close, after months of closure during the peak spring and summer months.

Now Bristol Zoological Society, which owns and operates both Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, plans to take action to ensure a new Bristol Zoo can continue to exist for generations to come, offering millions more people the opportunity to experience a new, transformed Bristol Zoo.

Dr Justin Morris, Chief Executive of Bristol Zoological Society, said: “This year has been by far the most challenging year the Society has faced in its 185-year history.

“But for many years Bristol Zoo Gardens has been struggling with fundamental and persistent challenges. Namely an inability to meet the changing needs of the animals within the available space and infrastructure, and declining visitor numbers.

“These challenges have had an enormous impact on our finances and the impact of Covid-19 has caused us to radically rethink our plans about the future and how we address the fundamental and persistent challenges that we face in order to save Bristol Zoological Society.

“We know that Bristol Zoo Gardens has a special place in the hearts of many, and lots of people have fond memories of visiting the Zoo. But a lot has changed and many of the animals associated with these memories are no longer at Bristol Zoo Gardens, for very valid reasons.   

“This new strategy presents an opportunity to create a world-class zoo that sets the standard for a modern, forward-looking zoo in the 21st century.

“It will be an inspiring, immersive wildlife experience with conservation and sustainability at its heart, where animals will have the space and facilities to thrive.

“New exhibits will link visitors to our conservation projects around the world and provide the tools for visitors to become conservationists themselves.

“The new Bristol Zoo will also be a beacon of environmental sustainability, demonstrating and promoting how together we can save wildlife in the way we live our lives.”

Bristol Zoological Society, which is a registered conservation charity, has 178 active shareholders who elect a board of 12 independent trustees to govern the Society. All 12 trustees recently voted unanimously in support of the Society’s new strategy.

The Executive Board and Trustees of Bristol Zoological Society will be leading a planning permission process to ensure that the future of the Clifton site is something that the organisation will be proud of and leaves a lasting legacy of Bristol Zoo Gardens.

It will include an ‘urban conservation hub’ in the zoo’s iconic main entrance building to ensure the heritage and story of the Clifton site will continue to be told. This would also become the base of the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project community and conservation programmes, an exhibition of Bristol Zoo Gardens’ heritage and a café.

New housing will be created in areas of the site where there are already built structures, and the existing gardens will be largely unchanged.

Bristol Zoo Gardens will remain open until late 2022 and visitors will not see an immediate change while plans are developed further. Wild Place Project will remain open throughout this time, until it becomes the new Bristol Zoo from early 2024.

Charlotte Moar, Chair of Trustees for Bristol Zoological Society, said everyone at the Society recognises the significance of the decision.

She said: “This decision has not been taken lightly and follows a rigorous process of assessing the strategic options over several months, as well as taking independent professional advice from a range of sources to ensure we are doing the best possible thing for the Society’s future.

“Over the next five years, even if we were to sell all our property in Clifton, except Bristol Zoo Gardens, and raise £7 million through philanthropic fundraising, we would still have a capital funding shortfall of £8 million.

“Over 20 years this shortfall increases to £44 million and as a result we would not be able to sustain our two zoos, our education programme and our UK and international conservation programme.

“This new plan ensures that Bristol Zoo continues to exist for generations to come, offering millions more people the opportunity to experience the magic of a new Bristol Zoo.”

Dr Bryan Carroll and Dr Jo Gipps, the former Chief Executives of Bristol Zoological Society, have been supporting and providing advice on the organisation’s new strategy.

Dr Carroll said: “Bristol Zoo has always been at the forefront of leading the transformation in the way animals are cared for, protected and understood. We want to be able to continue that legacy, now and for decades to come.

“But Bristol Zoo Gardens is only 12 acres in size and over many years the number of large animal species has reduced significantly and this trend will only continue. As much as we all love the Clifton site, it is no longer the best place to achieve our ambitious vision for what a modern-day zoo should be.

“The best place to progress our forward-thinking vision is at the Wild Place Project site, which is more than 10 times the size of Bristol Zoo Gardens and offers such a fantastic opportunity to continue the world-class work we have always been known for.”

TAKEN FROM: https://bristolzoo.org.uk/latest-zoo-news/bristol-zoological-society-unveils-new-plan

Bad news. I remember on many occasions  visiting the zoo in my younger years. I have fond memories of the zoo. When I was a kid the best ones for me were the seal feeding that usually occurred about 3.00pm. I also remember the two elephants that were there in the late 60,s and early 70,s. One was an African elephant and one was an Indian elephant, one had bigger ears than than the other and apparently this is the way you could tell by their origin.

There was also an amusing story in the media some years back now where the bloke taking money for parking external to the zoo didn’t actually work for the zoo or the council. The zoo thought he was collecting money for the council and the council thought he was collecting money for the zoo. He must of made thousands over the years.

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