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Islands by Boat - the wire Orang Enclosure and the Monsoon Forest

Islands Opening Day, Chester, 10th July 2015

Islands by Boat - the wire Orang Enclosure and the Monsoon Forest
gentle lemur, 12 Jul 2015
    • gentle lemur
      Islands Opening Day, Chester, 10th July 2015
    • ChesterZooFan
      You can't tell from the photo but you can seek to Monsoon Forest through the air vents- the section I saw already looked well planted so maybe we aren't too far away from it opening??
    • Vulpes
      I cannot understand why they used zoo mesh here! it looks so silly. this should have been an immersive exhibit but now its just people looking at animals in cages from a boat!

      Cant say I am impressed!

      An island would have been much more effective! Zoo mesh is the modern equivalent of bars if you ask me!
    • kiang
      If given the choice of moat or mesh, i think i know which one the orangs would have chosen!
    • Javan Rhino
      The orangs will have two enclosures viewable from the boat ride, with one being this meshed enclosure and one being an open-topped enclosure. I personally prefer the meshed enclosure and think most ape enclosures could learn a lesson from this - having the mesh allows the orangs to make full use of the height and looking at the original concept drawings it certainly looks like the idea is that the orangs will climb all over this and make full use of the enclosure.

      It may not look as nice, but certainly better for the animals from a welfare point of view.
    • Zooish
      Purely from an aesthetic point of view, why would the zoo spend millions on theming to make Islands look fantastically naturalistic, only to stick an obvious cage in plain sight? I understand there is an open orang exhibit viewed via the boat, so why not just keep the caged exhibit for viewing via foot only, where the views of the exhibit can be designed to avoid seeing the mesh?
    • ChesterZooFan
      There are 2 open enclosures for orangs. The one seen from the boat plus another far larger enclosure on the other side of Monsoon Forest, not visible from the boat. This has a large oak tree in it and has also been very heavily planted which will create a very natural and exciting space for visitors and orangs.

      I know what you mean about the mesh 'cage' sticking out like a sore thumb in an otherwise totally 'natural' exhibit. However, I agree with Javan Rhino that this will offer a better experience for the animals (giving them a choice of 3 outdoor and 3 indoor spaces).

      Once complete I think this will be one of the best Sumatran orang exhibits anywhere in the world, with the potential for 2 breeding groups (here's hoping!)
    • Pertinax
      For Orangutans, it is only in a covered enclosure they can use the full height, and have hanging straps etc suspended from the ceiling to climb/swing on. Open enclosures, however well planted and equipped, can never demonstrate their true arboreal natures in the same way.
    • Drew
      I agree that having one of the three exhibits as mesh makes a lot of sense from an animal welfare standpoint as it gives them a different environment and different challenges. It would look a lot less cage-like, however, if they were to use the black oxide finish on the mesh and paint the support columns to match the other climbing support poles. The galv. finish on both makes them really stand out. If they could have also planted some trees in the foreground along the rivers edge the mesh would disappeared lot more in the shade, although you would want trees big enough to not block views to the upper reaches of the exhibit. I look forward to seeing photos of the finished result, but overall Islands look very nice.
    • gentle lemur
      Having visited Islands again yesterday I can add one point, which I wasn't sure about before. The glazed area on the right is part of the Monsoon Forest (I think it's the entrance, but I may be wrong). It provides an unobstructed view of this enclosure, which will be rather like the viewing windows in RotRA, where the Sumatran orangs can often be seen swinging on straps and where a couple of swaypoles have been installed to let the orangs get the hang of them, although I haven't seen them being used yet.
      I do agree with Drew about the preferability of black mesh for viewing, and indeed on the other side of the Monsoon Forest there is an exhibit with black mesh which I believe will be an aviary for rhinoceros hornbills. However there are other considerations; the mesh must be strong enough to allow an adult pair of orangs to hang from it together without significant flexing, it must be weatherproof, it must be available in an appropriate mesh size and sheet size and it must be fixed to the framework so securely that it frustrates the orang's notorious combination of strength, persistence and ingenuity.

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    Chester Zoo
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    gentle lemur
    12 Jul 2015
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