A new Bristol Zoo – an exciting new future for Bristol Zoological Society
As Bristol Zoo celebrates its 185th anniversary this year, it seems more appropriate than ever that we should set out our Strategy to 2035 when we will celebrate our bicentenary.
During this time, we must all commit to fundamentally respond to the climate and ecological emergencies that threaten the existence of life on this planet and Bristol Zoological Society is particularly well-placed to do this.
Our unique combination of public engagement with hundreds of thousands of visitors each year; our education programmes for all ages from schoolchildren to postgraduates; and our direct conservation action in the UK and around the world ensures that not only can we inspire and educate others to become conservationists but we can also work directly with our partners to save wildlife.
Central to this strategy is our emerging vision for the new Bristol Zoo. Given our long history at the forefront of the development of zoos, Bristol Zoological Society is better placed than most to define what zoos should look like in the 21st Century.
We are excited by the prospect of a new kind of zoo where visitors and animals will be immersed in the natural landscape – the zoo in nature and nature in the zoo; where visitors will be encouraged to explore and discover, experiencing the extraordinary thrill of a chance encounter with animals in a range of wild places; connecting people with nature through a truly authentic experience.
However, the new Bristol Zoo will be much more than an exciting visitor destination. Animals will be chosen to ensure that we can achieve the greatest conservation impact; our education and scientific research programmes will grow significantly to form a new conservation campus; and our conservation action in the field, saving wildlife from extinction, will increase both at the Zoo, in the South West and around the world. All of this will build on the existing strength of our network of partners and collaborators, locally and internationally. The Zoo will be a centre of global understanding and action.
In order to realise our exciting vision for the new Bristol Zoo, we will sell our Clifton properties including Bristol Zoo Gardens. The funds will not only enable the delivery of the first phase of the development of the new Bristol Zoo but will also be used to increase and grow our education and direct conservation programmes.
Fundamental to the development of a residential-lead scheme for the site will be the importance of providing good-quality, eco-friendly low-carbon homes largely in areas where there are already built structures on the site. In addition, the remaining green spaces will be enhanced to encourage greater biodiversity with consideration of public access to the gardens beyond the Clifton Conservation Hub that is already planned.
Our vision for the new Bristol Zoo is one that also provides a unique opportunity to deliver an environmentally-friendly, forward-thinking zoo, that will be a beacon of sustainability, carbon neutral and net positive for nature, all the while promoting good health and wellbeing. The Zoo will work with the communities of Bristol, continuing existing conversations and starting new ones, influencing policy and decision-makers to ensure a sustainable future for wildlife and people.
More information on our exciting new vision can be found in our Strategy to 2035.
Over the coming weeks and months, we will be sharing more details and asking people to join us in a conversation to shape a bold new future for Bristol Zoological Society and the new Bristol Zoo. We hope that you will join us on this journey and help achieve our mission of saving wildlife together.
Thank you for your support.
Dr Justin Morris
Chief Executive of Bristol Zoological Society
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