THERE were celebrations at Dudley Zoo and Castle as staff watched its four critically endangered Bornean orangutans exploring their new £500,000 outdoor enclosure for the very first time.

Jazz, Sprout, Djimat and Benji have been accessing the new large grassed ensclosure, next to their indoor den, which has been completed after a year-long build project.

Zoo curator Richard Brown said: “It was a fantastic sight to see the orangutans coming into the new enclosure and immediately exploring the climbing apparatus, which showcases the natural behaviours of the arboreal ape species.

“This enclosure is life-changing for the orangutans and was quite an emotional moment for staff to witness.”

The new enclosure, which includes a large timber frame, hammocks, shelters, webbing and ropes, has been part funded through public donations, after the zoo launched an appeal during its 80th anniversary.

Halesowen News: Zoo manager Matt Lewis and zoo director Derek Grove outside the new enclosure.Zoo manager Matt Lewis and zoo director Derek Grove outside the new enclosure.

Richard added: “The pandemic has forced us to defer some of our development plans across the site, but we were always determined to bring our orangutan enclosure plans to fruition.

“We started work exactly a year ago using local builders and suppliers and we’re all incredibly proud to achieve this long-term goal, especially during these troubled times.”

The new enclosure will be officially opened with a celebratory day during the summer and work will now turn to redeveloping the original outdoor orangutan enclosure.