The world’s oldest surviving provincial zoo is set to move to secure the future of its organization in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bristol Zoological Society announced Friday that the grounds of Bristol Zoo Gardens in Clifton, which have been open to the public since 1836, are being sold.
It will be closed in late 2022 and relocated to the company’s Wild Place project in South Gloucestershire.
The move was announced after the second national lockdown in England closed the Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place project after months of closure in the spring and summer months.
There was also declining attendance too Bristol Zoo Gardens Recently the organization had suffered an operating loss for four of the past six years.
Justin Morris, Executive Director of the Bristol Zoological Society said, “This year was by far the most challenging year the Society has faced in its 185 year history.
“But for many years Bristol Zoo Gardens has faced fundamental and ongoing challenges, namely the inability to meet the changing needs of animals within the available space and infrastructure, and declining visitor numbers.
“These challenges have had a tremendous impact on our finances and the impact of Covid-19 has led us to revise our plans for the future and the way we address the fundamental and ongoing challenges we face at the Bristol Zoological Society save to rethink radically. “
Dr. Morris said the new strategy offers the opportunity to create a world-class location that will set the standards for a “modern, future-oriented zoo in the 21st century”.
He said the new Bristol Zoo will be an immersive experience where conservation and sustainability are at the fore, and animals have the space and facilities to “thrive”.
New exhibits connect visitors to the company’s projects around the world.
The company, a registered conservation organization, has 178 active shareholders who elect a board of 12 independent trustees to govern it.
All 12 trustees recently voted unanimously to move the zoo.
A building permit process will now take place to ensure that the future of the Clifton site is “something the organization will be proud of” and leaves a lasting legacy of the zoo, a spokeswoman said.
This includes an urban conservation center in the zoo’s main entrance building, which will also form the basis for the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project’s community and conservation programs.
There will also be an exhibition on the zoo’s heritage and a café.
New apartments will be created in areas of the site where structures already exist and the existing gardens will remain largely unchanged.
Bristol Zoo Gardens and the Wild Place Project will remain open until the end of 2022. The South Gloucestershire site will become the new Bristol Zoo from early 2024.
Charlotte Moar, Chair of the Bristol Zoological Society Board of Trustees, said, “This decision was not taken lightly and follows a rigorous process of evaluating strategic options over several months and taking independent advice from a number of sources to ensure we do so do the best for the future of society.
“Even if we sold all of our properties in Clifton except Bristol Zoo Gardens over the next five years and raised £ 7m through philanthropic fundraising, we would still have a £ 8m lack of capital.
“Over 20 years that shortfall will grow to £ 44 million and as a result we will not be able to sustain our two zoos, our education program and our UK and international conservation programs.
“This new plan will ensure that Bristol Zoo will last for generations and allow millions of people to experience the magic of a new Bristol Zoo.”
consequences Bristol Lives Blog for more coverage of the closure.