Chester Zoo has announced that visitor numbers in 2016 were the highest ever recorded by a UK zoo.

The UK’s most visited paid-for attraction outside London welcomed 1.89m visitors – a 12% rise on the previous year.

Zoo bosses and conservationists have issued a public thank you to everyone who has visited the Cheshire attraction. The income generated will support the zoo’s Act For Wildlife which delivers around 80 conservation projects in 30 countries globally.

Chester Zoo Breaks UK Zoo Record with 1.89m visitors in 2016These include initiatives to help frogs in Madagascar, song birds in Indonesia and elephants in India.

“We rely on our visitors to help deliver 80 vital conservation projects to protect threatened species – and the local communities that live alongside them – all around the world, ” confirmed Dr Mark Pilgrim, Chester Zoo’s Chief Executive Officer.

Chester Zoo breaks UK zoo record with 1.89m visitors in 2016“That work includes a commitment to scientific conservation research; sending our keepers abroad to offer hands on welfare and technical advice in the wild and equipping rangers and field workers with the tools they need to protect endangered animals.

“We couldn’t do all this without the brilliant, growing support of our visitors.”

The zoo, home to more than 20, 000 animals and over 500 different species, is currently enjoying unprecedented satisfaction ratings. 99% of visitors surveyed last summer suggested they would recommend Chester Zoo to friends and family.

Last year, TripAdvisor named the attraction the UK’s best zoo and within the top ten globally.

Chester Zoo breaks UK zoo record with 1.89m visitors in 2016This month, Chester Zoo launches a new phase of improvements, underpinning the “always building” ethos of founder George Mottershead.

“Opening this summer, we will be taking a playful turn with a brand new Madagascan Play habitat for our family visitors, creating lots of fun and adventure for people to enjoy across the zoo, ” added Pilgrim.

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