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See the exotic animals of Africa Alive! enjoying their newly extended home

PUBLISHED: 15:12 05 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:12 05 July 2017

Giraffes explore the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher

Giraffes explore the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

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Rhinos, zebra and giraffes are among the lucky animals stretching out their legs on an extra acre at a wildlife park’s latest enclosure extension.

A foal Zebra inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher A foal Zebra inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

The Plains of Africa paddock at Africa Alive! in Kesingland, now has four acres for animals and visitors to enjoy.

Home to blesbok antelope, ostriches, chapman’s zebra, white rhinos and giraffes – the exhibition brings the sights and sounds of Africa to Suffolk.

Tim Stevenson, chairman of the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), the charity which runs Africa Alice! and Banham Zoo, formally opened the extension.

He said: “I think it is magnificent. It looks like an extract from the veldt of South Africa. How lucky we are to have this in the midst of East Anglia.

Giraffes explore the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher Giraffes explore the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

“The animals need a sanctuary and that is what they have here.”

The £63,000 project began in September 2015 and was completed by March this year.

Gary Batters, director of conservation and education for ZSEA, said: “With a relatively low cost of production the actual impact of the extension is tremendous.

“It has been great value for money with the addition of the ha-ha ditch giving customers enhanced viewing and intimacy with the animals.”

Giraffes explore the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher Giraffes explore the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

He added: “It has impressed me after 40 years of being involved with zoos and is a good addition to Africa Alive!”

Terry Hornsey, animal manager, praised the benefits the extension will bring, explaining the “extra grazing land is excellent for the animals”.

Completion of the project coincided with the arrival of two new white rhino in April, bringing the zoo’s total to five.

The rhinos are exchanged between zoos all over the continent as part of a European breeding programme which moves the animals based on their genetic viability.

Tim Stevenson opens the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher Tim Stevenson opens the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

There are currently 20,000 white rhinos left in the wild – they are hunted mainly for their horns which are more valuable than gold on the black market.

Mr Stevenson said: “White rhino are heading for extinction. We need to do these things and we need to do them better.

“Our real desire would be to breed the rhinos which would be a major achievement for us.”

Official opening of the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher Official opening of the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

Official opening of the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher Official opening of the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

Official opening of the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher Official opening of the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

 A foal Zebra inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher A foal Zebra inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

A Zebra foal inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher A Zebra foal inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

A Zebra foal inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher A Zebra foal inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

A Zebra foal inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher A Zebra foal inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

Rhino's explore the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher Rhino's explore the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

Rhino's explore the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher Rhino's explore the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

Feeding time for the giraffes inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher Feeding time for the giraffes inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

Feeding time for the giraffes inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher Feeding time for the giraffes inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

Feeding time for the giraffes inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher Feeding time for the giraffes inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

Feeding time for the giraffes inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher Feeding time for the giraffes inside the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

Official opening of the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher Official opening of the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

Official opening of the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive.

Picture: Nick Butcher Official opening of the newly extended plains of Africa enclosure at Africa Alive. Picture: Nick Butcher

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