CONSERVATIONISTS have revealed major plans for Chester Zoo this year.

This year, bosses at Chester Zoo are promising a bigger and better visitor experience with habitat upgrades, new animals and exhibitions for all the family.

A major plan for the zoo includes a new Madagascar habitat which will open this Easter, housing a selection of previously unseen species at the zoo from rare lemurs to mysterious fossas.

It is hoped that the Madagascar zone will bring wildlife conservation to life through detailed recreations of forest habitats and allowing visitors to walk among the lemurs.

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In autumn visitors will also get to see a new habitat inspired by the Gir National Park region of India for the zoo's endangered Asiatic lions of which there are fewer than 500 left on the planet.

The new habitat will feature a raised viewing point for lions to survey their savannah, along with heated rocks, a water hole and sandy beach area.

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This multi-million pound investment in the habitats is part of a long-term plan to transform Chester Zoo into spectacular zones that are inspired by the global regions where the zoo's conservationists work.

Chief operating officer at Chester Zoo Jamie Christon said: “2019 is set to be a special year for us.

“The new animal habitats will help us to continue our world leading conservation work for the species in our care, from rare lemurs in Madagascar to endangered Asiatic lions.

“As an education charity, it is vital that we also continue to engage visitors in this mission.

"We hope to bring visitors closer to the animals than ever before by giving them the chance to walk with lemurs, taking an expedition right into the heart of the forest, just as you can do in the wilds of Madagascar.

"People will not forget this experience. By inspiring a life-long connection to wildlife, we hope to create the conservationists of the future."

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There will also be plenty of exhibitions for the family to enjoy this year including a Predators experience in May which will see the arrival of animatronic hunters at the zoo including everything from dinosaurs to a giant bear and unimaginable sea creatures.

In February a specially created Lego: Big Cats exhibition and trail through zoo will reveal life-sized cat species all made from Lego alongside some other zoo residents.

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Jamie added: “There are plenty more experiences to inspire learning and play in 2019.

"With more than 20,000 animals, you might think there’s little you can’t already see at Chester Zoo, but in 2019 we’ll also be bringing you life-sized animatronic re-creations of extinct predators, ranging across 200 million years of history.

“And before all this, the zoo will become over-run with Lego animals.

“We were humbled to greet more visitors in 2018 than at any time in Chester Zoo’s long history.

"Every person through our gates helps to prevent extinction by supporting our vital work as a conservation charity.

"We look forward to welcoming each and every visitor back again in 2019.”