CONSERVATIONIST and TV Presenter, Bill Oddie has officially opened Dudley Zoo's £20,000 Baboons on the Bank exhibit.

He visited the zoo on Monday (August 25) to take a closer look at the Gelada baboons in their one-acre hillside enclosure.

The former Goodies star also had the chance to meet his namesake – the zoo’s first Gelada baby, Billie who was born on July 8.

Bill, who grew up in the Black Country, before moving to Cambridge to study English literature, is an accomplished writer, ornithologist and keen zoo supporter, with a fondness for native species.

He said: “I’m sure Dudley Zoo was the first zoo I ever visited as a kid and must have helped nurture my love of wildlife.

“The work done by modern zoos is becoming increasingly important and it was very interesting to hear of Dudley Zoo’s conservation role, and particularly to see first hand their breeding programme with Gelada baboons.”

Peter Suddock, the zoo's CEO, added: “We were delighted to welcome Bill to open our Baboons on the Bank enclosure.

“He also took in a tour of the site to see our latest developments and met a few new arrivals during our recent baby boom - including seven-week-old Billie, for whom he received an adoption pack.”