Manchester Zoo talks advance with plans to open Q4 2021
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Manchester Zoo talks advance with plans to open Q4 2021

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Zoologist Johnpaul Houston is in advanced talks with a local council to create a zoo in Manchester, England.

Houston, a former assistant head keeper at Blackpool Zoo – around 50 miles away from Manchester – is close to agreeing on a deal with Trafford Council for the zoo, which will cost around £8m (US$10.2m, €8.9m).

There are two potential sites for the zoo, one of which is around 90 acres in size and another covering nearly 250 acres.

Houston, who has roles at various global zoological associations, has secured private funding for the project, which would be the first the first zoo in the Greater Manchester region since the closure of Belle Vue Zoological Gardens in 1977.

“What we are trying to do is pretty different," said Houston. "Belle Vue closed because there was a new understanding of animals and how to keep them and the welfare standards probably weren't amazing.

"We're trying to create a much more naturalistic landscape for the animals and make them feel as though – at least in part – they can exhibit all of their natural behaviour, which I don't think they were able to do back then."

Plans include to place a major emphasis on conservation, education and saving threatened species and will feature exotic species from Madagascar, as well as lemurs and birds of prey. More types of animals will be added as the zoo develops.

A spokesman for Trafford Council said: "Council officers have met with Mr Houston to discuss his proposals. We will continue to work with him in advance of any potential future planning application."

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Zoologist Johnpaul Houston is in advanced talks with a local council to create a zoo in Manchester, England.
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