COLCHESTER Zoo has set out ambitious plans to bring in new animals and expand its enclosures.

The Maldon Road attraction has unveiled the vision as it was revealed the zoo will become charity trust known as the Colchester Zoological Society from 2025.

A drawing shows how the zoo plans to expand, subject to planning permission.

The zoo hopes it can bring in new species such as Gorilla, Bonobo and Okapi.

The news comes as the zoo prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

The plans for the expansion, set out in a graphic released by the zoo, also include an extended safari ride experience, a refurbished savannah paddock, and a larger car park.

The plans represent a strong rebound for the zoo after the owner announced in 2020 it was at a dangerous crossroads as it fought for survival.

A spokesman said: “It is with great pride that we announce, as of January 2025, the zoo will become a charitable trust, known as Colchester Zoological Society.

“The visual drawing gives you a taste of what the future holds for Colchester Zoo. We must reiterate this is just a vision at this stage, due to this being subject to surveys, consent and planning permission.

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“We hope to create many new jobs for the local community, as well as generate and expand our building association with many local suppliers and traders.

“A bigger zoo will not necessarily see the arrival of many new species but will ensure that every animal we have, will have better and bigger facilities, with many habitats tripling in size.”

Gazette: The Colchester Zoo expansion plansThe Colchester Zoo expansion plans (Image: Colchester Zoo)

The zoo said the plans will take time.

The spokesman added: “Surveys and planning permission application is required and granted before anything can start and we need to build the funds to fulfil these plans to the highest standard possible.

“We would like to thank all our dedicated staff, visitors and supporters who have, for so many years, given us the strength to survive and helped bring us through the darkest of days. Without your support we would not be where we are today and striving towards the zoo of tomorrow.

“We hope that the zoo of the future here in Colchester will be one that the local community will be proud of. We strongly believe that this vision will secure a future which will allow us to achieve our mission and revolutionise the zoo as we know it today."