Edinburgh Zoo owners’ £35m scheme set to create Scotland’s biggest eco-tourism attraction.

The owners of Edinburgh Zoo have announced plans to build a £35m undercover rainforest in Glasgow, creating an ecological tourist attraction to rival the Eden Project in Cornwall. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland says that the project, which would be built on the banks of the Clyde in the east end of the city, could hold some of the world’s most endangered species, and would fill the gap left when Glasgow Zoo closed two years ago.

The proposed site for the tourist attraction is in Cunnigar Loop, near Celtic football ground, across the Clyde from where the new Scottish athletics arena is due to be completed in 2009.

To simulate the Amazonian climate for the monkeys, manatees, tapirs and big cats, the zoo would flood every day. David Windmill, chief executive of Edinburgh Zoo said: “we’re talking about a visitor attraction unlike anything else in the UK. It’s going to be undercover and like a real tropical rainforest.”

With support from Glasgow and Lanarkshire councils, the Clyde Gateway project and Scottish Enterprise, confidence is running high. A bid for lottery funding is expected, and the money from the sale of the former Glasgow Zoo site at Calderpark will also go towards the project. Money raised from the centre would be reinvested in conservation projects in Latin America.