An image of a black rhino mother and her calf

Two of the world’s rarest animals will be at the new Bristol Zoo

Plans are underway to bring a pair of the rarest animals in the world to the new Bristol Zoo.

Two black rhinoceros are among a host of exciting animals that will be living at the new zoo, which is due to open in 2024 here at Wild Place Project.

They will be part of plans to increase the number of species at the new Bristol Zoo that are in need of conservation.

Between 1960 and 1995, black rhino numbers dropped by a staggering 98%. Today there are thought to be as few as 3,142 in the wild.

They have suffered from a loss of their habitat and from poachers, who kill them for their horns, and are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The inclusion of black rhinos at the new Bristol Zoo is part of a European programme to maintain a population that will act as a safety net against them becoming extinct.

Brian Zimmerman, Director of Conservation at Bristol Zoological Society, said: “They will be living in a new exhibit with scrubby vegetation and mixed trees, resembling their habitat in Africa. 

“What’s unique about the new Bristol Zoo is that visitors will discover animals in a natural setting, rather than creating a completely human-made environment for them.”

Mr Zimmerman said: “They are such iconic animals but they are threatened and we want to play our part in protecting them. 

“We have ambitious conservation plans for the future and we hope that the black rhino will be part of that work.”

Conservation is at the heart of the new Zoo and around 78 per cent of the species will have links to conservation projects – a higher percentage than any other zoo in the UK.

The new Bristol Zoo will also include endangered African grey parrots and critically endangered slender-snouted crocodiles. There will also be extremely rare species of West African fish which visitors will be able to see in a new underwater viewing area.

The gorilla troop from Bristol Zoo Gardens will live there as well, with a new group of endangered cherry-crowned mangabey monkeys, in a woodland exhibit.

Bristol Zoo Gardens will close to the public for the last time on September 3 2022. Wild Place Project will remain open to visitors while the new Bristol Zoo, due to open in 2024, is constructed.

To find out more about the exciting future of Bristol Zoological Society, visit future.bristolzoo.org.uk/