SOME OF the world's most endangered animals are to live together at a zoo in South Gloucestershire - as it creates an Africa forest habitat.

Critically endangered western lowland gorillas, endangered cherry-crowned mangabeys, crocodiles, parrots and fish will have a home at the new site.

It is part of ambitious plans to conserve and protect some of the world’s most threatened species.

Conservation and education charity Bristol Zoological Society has secured planning approval to create a new Central African Forest habitat at its Bristol Zoo Project site.

Work will begin this spring and see the zoo’s existing gorilla troop joined by a new group of mangabeys, as well as Critically Endangered slender-snouted crocodiles, Endangered African grey parrots and several extremely threatened species of West African freshwater fish.

The development is a major step forward in the Society’s plan to create a new, cutting-edge conservation zoo.

At least 80 percent of species will be connected to its conservation work in the UK and around the world.

The gorillas and mangabeys will be living in an area four and a half times the size of the gorilla troop’s current home at the former Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Central African Forest will make the most of the wooded area of the zoo’s 136-acre site in South Gloucestershire.

It has been designed to evoke a sense of the dense forest and landscape of Equatorial Guinea, where the Society runs one of its largest conservation projects focused on gorillas and other threatened forest species.

Brian Zimmerman, Director of Conservation and Science at Bristol Zoological Society, said: “All of the mammals, birds, reptiles and fish that will live in Central African Forest are classified as threatened in the wild.

"The creation of this habitat not only presents a unique opportunity for us to bring these wonderful creatures together and expand our conservation work, it also enables us to participate in, and lead, managed breeding programmes, which will help to protect them in the future.”

Justin Morris, Chief Executive at Bristol Zoological Society, said: “We are thrilled to have secured planning permission for this new habitat, which is a major step forward in our vision to create a modern conservation zoo with animals living in spaces more closely reflecting their natural habitats."