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Gloucestershire Business News

Plans for new £1.5m aviary proposed for Slimbridge

Plans for a new £1.5m walk-through aviary at Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) Slimbridge have been submitted for planning permission.

The 2000 square metre aviary will allow visitors to get a birds-eye view of the typical habitat wetland species rely on, and give them a glimpse into how conservation is saving endangered species.

WWT Slimbridge General Manager, Gary Haseley-Nejrup said: "These new plans are a landmark in bringing people and wildlife closer together. Visitors will be able to walk through areas of flooded woodland, reed forest and marsh wetland, allowing them to see and understand the habitats of Slimbridge species, old and new, like never before.

"It will enable us to house and conserve a range of incredible wildlife, including Slimbridge favourites like avocet and black-tailed godwit, as well as new species such as bearded tits, rarely seen in Gloucestershire - an opportunity many people will never have had before. With wetland comes other creatures too. Expect to see butterflies, mini-beasts and more."

Attached to the aviary, the Living Wetland Theatre will offer the perfect open-air venue for live and interactive demonstrations and the chance to get up close to beautiful wetland birds, while presenters introduce the species on stage. Stars of the show will include free-flying pelicans and diving whistling ducks. The theatre will also offer a platform for live debates with researchers, scientists and TV experts as they explore conservation and environmental issues.

The new aviary will be well equipped to house vulnerable species and will be fully accessible to people with limited mobility.

It will however mean Slimbridge and its visitors have to say goodbye to the much-loved 50 year old tropical house.

The new aviary will be funded as part of a £4.4m funding award announced by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in 2016.

If plans are approved, work will begin on the new aviary next year. It is set to open in 2020.

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