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Giant Otter exhibit at Chester 25/04/10

Curator of Mammals Tim Rowlands informed us that although occupied the exhibit is not yet quite in its final state - in particular there are several large [i]Gunnera[/i] to be planted (love [i]Gunnera[/i]!).

Giant Otter exhibit at Chester 25/04/10
Maguari, 27 Apr 2010
David Matos Mendes likes this.
    • Maguari
      Curator of Mammals Tim Rowlands informed us that although occupied the exhibit is not yet quite in its final state - in particular there are several large Gunnera to be planted (love Gunnera!).
    • Arizona Docent
      This has got to be the world's best giant otter exhibit.
    • kiang
      Are there any plans for an indoor area, with public viewing?
    • gentle lemur
      I saw this enclosure for the first time last Saturday. I think it's going to work, but it will look much better with more plant growth. At the moment the back or left hand side of the pool is rather stark grey fake rock, so I assume the Gunnera will go there. I think one of the dead tree trunks, which are currently both the right (footpath) side of the enclosure, would have looked much better on the further side, where it would be an interesting backdrop and this would allow better views of the otters when they swim close to the path.
      I do like the idea of growing water lilies in the lower pool, the otters did seem to enjoy swimming and diving between the leaves, so I hope they don't damage the plants too much.

    • SMR
      There is a lot of space to the rear left of the enclosure (on the penguin side) that can be incorporated. Tim Rowlands told us that it is very much a work in progress, and a house, presumably with indoor viewing is on the cards. It was also said that many of the stand-offs on the east side are likely to be removed.
    • Saro
      @ Arizona Docent: Sorry, but Doue la Fontaine, Chestnut and Brasilias are way better - and Cuiabas is way bigger (4400m²) and also better. What makes Chester so good, except for the size ?
    • Arizona Docent
      Well, it's better than the ones I have seen in America. I did not realize there are so many giant otter exhibits now!
    • Pertinax
      The enclosure is already looking better now summer is here. I like the WaterLily idea- maybe they should plant some of those huge ones?- it will look more like an 'Amazonian backwater' and so quite natural. I doubt the Otters will damage them either.

      I'm looking forward to seeing these Giant Otters sometime, they're one of my 'missing' species.
    • Saro
      @ Arizona Docent : No offense - you are right though, the North American giant otter enclosures fall way behind some of the European and South American enclosures. Miami seems just a bit better ( I have only seen photos) but the others certainly need some improvement. One big advantage at Chester is the size, often zoos plan and build just too small and these are big animals.
    • Zooish
      Would it be fair to say that Brit/European zoo visitors are more forgiving of animal no-shows? A larger enclosure would often mean that the animals are less visible or easily seen.

      Here in Singapore at least, one major consideration for exhibit size is visibility of the animals. There have been instances where enclosures start out quite large, only to be subsequently shrunk - either halved to display more animals (especially those territorial ones), or reduced in size using hot-wire; there were just too many complaints from visitors about not being able to see the animals. The average Asian visitor will think bad of a zoo if they can't see the animals, so they're unlikely to visit again which is bad for business.

      And also cost is a factor. I think most if not all of the American zoos that have Giant Otters have underwater viewing facilities (can someone confirm this?). These are notoriously expensive to build and keeping the water clear is costly. So such underwater viewing exhibits tend to be much smaller than an enclosure like Chester's.
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    Chester Zoo
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    27 Apr 2010
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