Photo gallery: Eureka! New sub-tropical enclosure opens at Banham Zoo

Martin Goymour officially opens the new sub-tropical house, Eureka at Banham Zoo. Photograph Simon P

Martin Goymour officially opens the new sub-tropical house, Eureka at Banham Zoo. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

A new sub-tropical animal enclosure may prove a welcome relief from the unseasonable cold after guests celebrated its official opening.

The Eureka! Animazing Oasis at Banham Zoo, which is heated to 20 degrees centigrade, welcomed its first visitors yesterday who gathered among the new animals and plant life.

The undercover enclosure, which replaces the original zoo animal house from 1968, features Egyptian Fruit Bats and spiny-tailed monitor lizard, found in Australia, Swainson's Lorikeet parrots, also found in Australia, the white-faced Saki monkey and the Azara's Agouti rodent, both found in South America. Plants include Bird of Paradise, red banana plants, pittosporum, oleander, passion flowers and bottle brush.

Butterflies have also been included and there will be green winged dove's, which are found in southern Asia, as well as insects, termites and snails.

Banham Zoo's managing director, Martin Goymour, said: 'This is immersive and we're looking at the relationship between animals and plants and habitats so this will be wonderful for education. 'We're looking at the synergy because without plant life there would be no life. Plus after the horrible weather we've been having it'll be very pleasant.'

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A decision to create the house was taken three years ago and cost £300,000. It uses sustainable energy with a 60kw air source heat pump to maintain the sub-tropical temperature and provide concentrated hot water to underfloor and air heating system, while the irrigation system for the plants is provided mainly from roof-water collection tanks.

Triple glazed translucent roofing provides natural light, while keeping the heat and there is also an in-built thermostatically-controlled roof ventilation system to provide cooling during the summer, helped by cooler air from vents.

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Check out Mustard TV for a behind the scenes look at the goings-on at Banham Zoo.

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