A record 1.97m people visited Chester Zoo in 2018, new figures released by the zoo reveal.
Already the UK’s most popular zoo, the new total of 1,969,768 visitors in 2018 sets an all-time high in the attraction’s 88-year history.
The numbers are up 4% up on its previous best, back in 2016.
Conservationists at the zoo have issued a public thank you to supporters, as income generated on the gate contributes to the wildlife charity’s work protecting endangered species worldwide.
2018 saw the zoo welcoming an unprecedented number of rare animal births.
From the UK’s first ever sun bear cub to the birth of a critically endangered rhino calf, conservationists at Chester Zoo have successfully bred some of the world’s most highly threatened animals.
The zoo’s conservationists have also achieved a number of high profile breakthroughs in the wild.
These include the ground-breaking discovery of bongo in Uganda, the rescue of 100 songbirds from the illegal wildlife trade as well as conservation success with for tigers in Nepal.
Chester Zoo bosses have stated that funds generated from their record-breaking visitor figures will enable it to continue to prevent extinction in 2019.
Jamie Christon, chief operating officer at the zoo, said: “The whole zoo team would like to thank every single visitor that walked through our gates in 2018, helping us to prevent extinction around the world.
“We are fighting to ensure a future of an array of animals and plants – both here in Chester and through 80 vital conservation projects, spanning 30 different countries.
“These global initiatives use the latest scientific research, animal welfare knowledge and technical know-how to ensure the survival of many of the world’s most at-risk species.
“Importantly, they also support local communities living side-by-side with the animals, ensuring they feel completely invested in protecting the amazing biodiversity around them.
“None of this would be possible without the fantastic support of our visitors and members.”
With more than 20,000 animals from 500 different species, the zoo is widely acclaimed as the best in the UK and is the country’s most visited attraction outside London.
The zoo has major plans to continue to grow as a world-renowned visitor attraction and conservation centre in 2019.