Bristol Zoological Society is to relocate Bristol Zoo to its Wild Place Project site to safeguard the future of the organisation.
The decision follows years of declining visitor numbers to Bristol Zoo Gardens and the organisation having made an operating loss in four of the last six years.
The site in Clifton will be sold in order to deliver its ambitious new vision and to secure the future of Bristol Zoo.
Dr Justin Morris, chief executive of Bristol Zoological Society, described 2020 as “by far the most challenging year the Society has faced in its 185-year history”.
“But for many years Bristol Zoo Gardens has been struggling with fundamental and persistent challenges. Namely an inability to meet the changing needs of the animals within the available space and infrastructure, and declining visitor numbers.
“These challenges have had an enormous impact on our finances and the impact of Covid-19 has caused us to radically rethink our plans about the future and how we address the fundamental and persistent challenges that we face in order to save Bristol Zoological Society.”
The new Bristol Zoo will offer spacious, modern facilities, significant growth in conservation and education work and a ground-breaking, innovative visitor experience.
“This new strategy presents an opportunity to create a world-class zoo that sets the standard for a modern, forward-looking zoo in the 21st century,” said Morris.
“It will be an inspiring, immersive wildlife experience with conservation and sustainability at its heart, where animals will have the space and facilities to thrive. New exhibits will link visitors to our conservation projects around the world and provide the tools for visitors to become conservationists themselves.
“The new Bristol Zoo will also be a beacon of environmental sustainability, demonstrating and promoting how together we can save wildlife in the way we live our lives.”