WORK has started on creating a new £500,000 orangutan enclosure at Dudley Zoo and Castle which is getting set to re-open after lockdown.

An empty paddock next to the current orangutan enclosure has been cleared in preparation for building work, which will see the area transformed for the zoo’s Bornean orangutans, Benji, Jazz and Sprout.

Zoo director Derek Grove, said: “No one is more delighted than I am to be part of the team that will help deliver this additional facility for these wonderful animals.

“Three lockdowns in the past 12 months have meant we’ve had to delay some of our major site development, but we’ve always been determined to deliver our updated plans for our orangutans.”

Amended plans, at a cost of £500,000, will now see the grassy paddock encompassed with a high mesh and glass barrier, with a semi-circular overhang at the top, which the orangutans will be able to access from their current dens.

A large timber climbing frame, hammocks and ropes will keep the arboreal great apes active and an outdoor heated shelter will keep them warm on cooler days.

Once the new outdoor exhibit is completed, zoo bosses hope to be able to secure additional funding to redevelop and combine the current outdoor space.

Money has been raised with the help of fundraisers and visitor donations over the last few years.

The Castle Hill attraction is currently preparing to reopen from Monday April 12.

Pre-book only tickets are available from the zoo’s website at