Drusillas is building a £500,000 new habitat for its monkeys, complete with a heated tree.

The zoo, in Alfriston, said the new custom-designed home for the resident colobus monkeys is its largest investment yet and will provide the animals with a "naturalistic, enriching home".

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Work started on the project in September 2023. The palatial new pad is on the site that was previously occupied by the wallaby and agouti habitats.

Drusillas said the new colobus home, made specifically for the tree-dwelling black and white monkeys, will have features including custom-built "enrichment equipment" and branch climbing structures.

There will also be a heated tree designed to keep the residents warm in colder weather and a waterfall feature for them to play on and bathe in.

The Argus: Construction began in September 2023

One section will be "hand-carved rockwork" with various spots for them to climb and rest and they will have a set of jungle-style themed huts similar to those in Africa, which helps the zoo to promote eco-tourism.

A spokesman for Drusillas said: "Every aspect of the new colobus home has been carefully researched and considered, with a strong focus on best practice in animal welfare.

"This innovative habitat aims to offer the animals a wide variety of choice and activities and an experience as close to their natural environment as possible.

"Drusillas' hope is that alongside creating a wonderful new environment for the colobus monkeys to live in, they can also raise funds and increase awareness about the essential work charities do to help conserve wildlife.

The Argus: The monkeys will be able to live in an environment similar to their natural habitat

"They also hope to provide human resources out in Kenya, so the zoo’s keepers get the chance to see Colobus Conservation's amazing work in person."

The focus on eco-tourism is important to Drusillas as a result of its new partnership with the Colobus Conservation charity, which provides eco-tours for visitors and locals to support the Angolan Colobus monkeys in the Diani region.

Drusillas said the charity has done "incredible work" over the past 25 years, promoting the conservation, preservation, and protection of Colobus monkeys and their coastal forest habitat.