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Thursday, 26 July, 2001, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Animals to enter Eden
Eden Biome
The animals will help the tropical forest to thrive
The 86m Eden Project has been awarded a zoo licence to put lizards and birds inside its giant tropical section.

The animals will be placed inside the Humid Tropics Biome in August.

They will be free to roam and fly around the giant dome-shaped greenhouse.

The Eden Project, in a former clay pit near St Austell, Cornwall, is introducing the animals to help create a balanced ecological environment inside the dome.

Eden Biome
Animals will be free to roam

The zoo licence is based on strict rules determining which species can be kept.

Eden has been working with Newquay Zoo to decide what animals to introduce.

Although precise details have not been released, it is known lizards and tropical finches will be among them.

An Eden spokesperson said there was no current problem with insect infestations among the 12,000 plants.

But he said the animals would help to protect the plants from insects in the future, without the use of chemicals.

The animals are not being introduced to entertain visitors

Spokeperson, Eden Project

"It is being done to create a sound ecological balance in the biome," he said.

"A lot of the plants in a rainforest have a relationship with animals.

"If insects or birds are eating them, then the seeds can be scattered around.

"It will be a bonus for visitors to Eden, but the animals are not being introduced to entertain visitors."

Tiny predators

He said butterflies had already been placed in the dome, and there were also tiny predators such as ladybirds inside to eat aphids.

The Humid Tropics Biome contains a rainforest and 25-metre waterfall.

It includes plantations of cocoa, coffee, pineapples and rubber and represents the environments of tropical islands, Malaysia, West Africa and South America.

There are no plans at this stage to introduce any animals into the smaller Warm Temperate Biome which recreates the climates of the Mediterranean, California and South Africa.

The Eden Project, which was officially opened in March this year, received 43m from the Millennium Commission.

See also:

15 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
UK's hi-tech 'Garden of Eden'
03 Oct 00 | Sci/Tech
UK's 'Garden of Eden' takes root
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