Endangered animals will be bred at Hainault Zoo

PUBLISHED: 17:44 12 October 2017

Native species, like this baby red squirrel, will be bred and released back into the wild. Picture: Frances Crickmore via iwitness

Native species, like this baby red squirrel, will be bred and released back into the wild. Picture: Frances Crickmore via iwitness

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Endangered species will be bred in a new zoo in Hainault Forest County Park.

As well as “exotic” animals, UK native species including water voles and red squirrels will be bred and released into the wild.

Redbridge Council confirmed the news after it secured a £4.5million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The council and Vision will bring the total investment to £6m and more money will be applied for to help with the delivery of the project.

Councillor Sheila Bain, cabinet member for civic pride, said: “This is incredible news and represents months of tireless work.

“We greatly appreciate this support from HLF and look forward to preserving the legacy of Hainault Forest for many years to come.”

The funding application was granted to the site in Romford Road, Hainault, to help preserve and enhance the ancient forest’s biodiversity. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

As well as maintaining the ancient woodland, the project will offer residents and schools employment and educational opportunities in the refurbished cafe, visitors’ centre and grounds.

Mental health patients will also be referred to work there through their GPs.

Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said the news was exciting and the space would become “almost a national park”.

“Redbridge Council is proud to announce the award of a £4.5m Heritage Lottery Fund grant to restore Hainault Forest Country Park to ancient forest and support conservation efforts by protecting and breeding local endangered species,” he said.

“This money will improve the facilities at the park, including new community and creative opportunities.

“This is a substantial investment in making the country park a destination of choice across Essex and London.”

Cllr athwal said the local community will be engaged throughout the process of renewing the country park.

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