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Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner praises “nationally leading” Chester Zoo

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has hailed “nationally leading” Chester Zoo following a visit to learn more about its pioneering conservation work.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has hailed “nationally leading” Chester Zoo following a visit to learn more about its pioneering conservation work.

The prominent MP for Ashton-Under-Lyne met with the zoo’s animal care teams, conservation experts and CEO, Jamie Christon, to discover more about the zoo’s ongoing efforts to prevent extinction and create a future where nature can survive and thrive.

Ms Rayner’s visit came as Chester Zoo’s voice has become increasingly prominent in Parliamentary debates, with cross-party MPs starting to draw on the conservation expertise offered by the wildlife charity on a range of important topics linked to protecting the environment and restoring global biodiversity.

Ms Rayner said:

“We can be very proud that it is a zoo in the North West that is leading efforts to create a better future for nature. I know Chester Zoo’s expertise is vital to the policy process and I am confident that a responsible government will utilise them in the future.”

During the visit, Ms Rayner toured the largest zoological building in the UK, Monsoon Forest, to hear more about Chester Zoo’s work to prevent deforestation by driving behaviour change. She also learnt about the zoo’s plans to welcome a pair of highly threatened snow leopards, joining the international conservation breeding programme for the species, and its latest project to bring an authentic African savannah with lodge-style accommodation to Cheshire, with its Heart of Africa development which is due to be unveiled in 2025.

Ms Rayner also met with the zoo’s animal care teams to hear about the practical side of caring for some of the world’s most iconic and threatened species, including the Asian elephant and the Sumatran tiger.

Ms Rayner said:

“Chester Zoo is a national leader in science, conservation and conservation education that is playing a crucial role in preventing extinction both here in the UK and worldwide.

“With the addition of the Heart of Africa development in 2025 and the new snow leopard habitat this Easter, I know Chester Zoo will continue to go from strength to strength and will continue to find innovative ways to fund their increasingly vital conservation work.

“At every turn, Chester Zoo represents pioneering conservation work undertaken by a nationally leading zoo.

“Despite the brilliant work at Chester Zoo, the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.

“When it comes to nature, Labour are the conservers. We created our national parks, opened the coastal footpath, and passed the world’s first laws to tackle climate change. We will build on this proud legacy and protect our natural environment for future generations.”

Jamie Christon, CEO of Chester Zoo, added:

With the world in a biodiversity crisis, the work of conservation charities like Chester Zoo has never been more important.

“It was great to host Angela at the zoo, and I welcome her clear commitment to the natural world. As a conservation and education charity, we continue to work with politicians of all types to offer our expertise and help to shape the policy process to build a future where nature can thrive.”

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