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A special operation for Vicky the Orangutan

There's been a very delicate operation at Chester Zoo where a 29 year old orangutan by the name of Vicky has successfully had surgery on her sinuses.

It's the first time the procedure has been done in the UK.

The 2 hour operation was carried out at Chester Zoo's on-site Animal Health Centre by the zoo's vets, colleagues from Blackpool Zoo and a human sinus expert from the nearby Nuffield Grosvenor Hospital in Chester.

Vicky, a Bornean orangutan, usually lives at Blackpool Zoo but is currently staying in Chester with three other orangutans until a new home in Blackpool is completed. The Zoo said the surgery went smoothly and Vicky should be back with the rest of her group very soon.

Chester Zoo release video of new 'Islands' project

Chester Zoo has released the first video showing what it's 30 million pound new development will look like. The Islands project has been labeled as one of the "biggest and most ambitious developments in UK zoo history."

The zoo’s development director, Simon Mann, said:

“Islands is all about immersion - transporting visitors thousands of miles away to experience the splendour of the animals, plants and cultural aspects of these far-flung places. It will take our visitors on an adventure where, for a couple of hours, they feel like they’re in South East Asia.

Islands is the biggest and most ambitious development in UK zoo history - there’s nothing else like it.

Some of the animals visitors can expect to see include, Sumatran tigers, Sulawesi macaques, Sumatran orangutans and sunda gharial crocodiles. _Islands, _will open in spring 2015.

*Video by Dan Pearlman

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A jungle trek to track down a rare parrot

Rare Ecuador Amazon Parrot Credit: Chester Zoo

An expedition from Chester Zoo has returned to the UK after a successful mission to track down and discover more about a rare species of parrot in Ecuador. To discover more, the team headed to South West Ecuador to gather new information on the birds behaviour and feeding habits.

Zoo team trek in Ecuador Credit: Chester Zoo

Its thought there are less than 600 of the parrots left in the wild. The zoo's director general, Dr Mark Pilgrim said "The data the team has returned with will hopefully be of great value in helping safeguard the long-term future of this species.”** **

Chester Zoo the top visitor attraction outside London

Neo - the dik-dik Antelope Credit: Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo has been named the most popular visitor attraction in England outside of London.

It is the third year in a row that the zoo has claimed the top spot.

That is according to new figures out from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions.

The zoo had 1,409,249 visitors in 2013.

Chester Zoo’s managing director, Jamie Christon, said:“We are delighted to take the top spot yet again and I think that’s proof that we’re doing things right."

Sumatran tigers making their first public appearances at Chester Zoo in 2013 Credit: Ralph Dickinson

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Rare zebra born at Chester Zoo

Rare zebra foal earns her stripes at Chester Zoo Credit: Chester Zoo

The as yet unnamed newcomer, a Grevy’s zebra, is the first of its kind to be born at the zoo for 34 years.

There are thought to be less than 2,500 left in the wild.

The foal, who was born with brown stripes that will turn black as she matures, arrived on Saturday to first time parents Nadine and Mac.

Curator of mammals, Tim Rowlands, said:

“Since our female zebras arrived a few years ago we have worked very hard to breed this highly endangered species and the arrival of this foal is not only a really good achievement for us and good news for the species as a whole.

“She is a lively one but mum Nadine is doing a great job far, particularly given that it’s her first – she’s certainly earning her parental stripes."

Counting the animals two by two

Keepers at Chester Zoo doing their annual stocktake Credit: PA

Keepers at Chester Zoo have their clipboards and pens at the ready as they embark on their annual stocktake of every animal at the zoo.

Thousands of animals, many of them highly endangered in the wild, are part of the compulsory count which is required by law.

From the smallest frog to the largest Asian elephant every animal has to be counted. There were 8, 244 animals at last year's stocktake.

Chester Zoo staff having to care for tiny new arrival

Neo -   the dik-dik Antelope
Neo - the dik-dik Antelope Credit: Chester Zoo

The Kirk's dik-dik is native to Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia and is named after the sound it makes when fleeing danger. They can live for up to 10 years and reach a maximum size of just 40cm tall, making it one of the smallest antelope species in the world.

Neo -   the dik-dik Antelope
Neo - the dik-dik Antelope Credit: Chester Zoo

Keeper Claire McPhee said: "Dik-dik mothers do not always take to their young and unfortunately Neo and his mum didn’t quite hit it off."

Neo - the dik-dik Antelope
Neo - the dik-dik Antelope Credit: Chester Zoo
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