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great ape house

inside the great ape house. You like the green?? It currently houses 3 gorilla's a group of chimpanzees and some siamangs. But in the past also some orang utans and bonobo's lived here. october 2010

great ape house
lintworm, 29 Jan 2011
    • lintworm
      inside the great ape house. You like the green?? It currently houses 3 gorilla\'s a group of chimpanzees and some siamangs. But in the past also some orang utans and bonobo\'s lived here.

      october 2010
    • DavidBrown
      Frankly the great ape house doesn't look all that great. Do the animals have nice outdoor habitats?

      Many of the exhibits in these photos look rather old and run down. Is the zoo replacing older habitats with more modern exhibits over time?
    • Toddy
      You must remember that this is an old house in a very old zoo. The chimps and gorillas actually have some pretty nice indoor/outdoor enclosures. They are outdoors but covered cover and sheltered so that the animals can use them when it is colder outside. These are filled with climbing frames and other "fun" stuff. If they were supplemented with larger outdoor areas these indoor/outdoor exhibits would work very well as just indoor exhibits. For example, this is their gorilla exhibit:

      Once again, Antwerpen is a very old zoo (1843) and old zoos tend to have old exhibits. The Ape House was opened in 1959 and given a complete overhaul in 1986 to look like its current state (although I think it also got a slight makeover last year?). This Ape House is not brilliant but certainly far from the worst as well.

      Antwerpen Zoo is one of the most innovative and informative zoos in Europe with some of the best signage I have ever seen. Of course they are replacing their exhibits. What modern zoo woulden't?
    • Pertinax
      I remember the small moated outdoor exhibits with high brick wall at the back (Dudley's ApeHouse may have been modelled on this House) in the late 1960's. I guess the indoor House is the same but upgraded? Have the outdoor islands been replaced entirely now?
    • Toddy
      Yes, have seen pictures of the house from back then. Looks very much like Dudley's. And yes, the outdoor islands were thankfully replaced with the new indoor/outdoor exhibits in 1986 (as far as I have understood). There are no islands these days. But I amuse that the indoor exhibits would have looked very much the same back when you visited as they do now.
    • DavidBrown
      Thanks for the thoughtful response Toddy, and for posting the picture of the outdoor gorilla yard.

      I understand what you are saying about old exhibits, and certainly there is value in maintaining buildings with valuable history. The London Zoo is an example of a zoo that maintains important architectural elements of its history while simultaneously building a 21st century zoo.

      My question was meant in this context, whether Antwerp is doing the same kind of modernization that London is. There do seem to be some major European zoos like the Berlin zoos where modernizing the exhibits doesn't seem to be a high priority relative to maintaining a diverse animal collection. My impression from the photos in the gallery is that Antwerp might follow more the Berlin model than the London model, but I wanted to hear the opinion of some people who actually know the Antwerp Zoo.
    • Toddy
      I would say that they are more like London than Berlin in that sense. This year Antwerpen opened a large new lion enclosure (which was long overdue) and over the last few years that zoo has actually been buying buildings on the zoo perimeter (it is located smack in the city centre) and then knocking them down to expand the zoo. Last year they expanded their okapi breeding centre with some of the newly acquired land and also included a new exhibit for babirusas and anoas. The reason things are going slow is (I suspect) that the zoo hasn't got a very strong financial base.
    • DavidBrown
      That is interesting that they are trying to expand an urban zoo and their plans sound impressive. Thanks for the information.

      Have they renovated their elephant exhibit recently? It looks like from one of the recent pictures here that they have a baby elephant in their herd.
      Update: I just looked at the Wikipedia article on this zoo and it said that the ele exhibit was renovated in 1999, which I suppose qualifies as a relatively recent renovation.
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