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Dudley Zoological Gardens £200k Dudley Zoo revamp

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by kiang, 27 Dec 2015.

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  1. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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    A development plan for parts of the zoo have been revealed;

    The plans focus on the bottom part of our 40-acre site and will provide additional animals and facilities, from the moment visitors step through the gate,” he added.

    The largest part of the project is the £120,000 planned work on the flamingo enclosure which will see a larger indoor area built with a viewing area and a much bigger pool.

    The £40,000 scheme to extend the gelada baboon enclosure includes transforming a former shop building into a walk-in viewing area. The paddock, which is next to the zoo’s vintage chairlift, will also be extended up the bank to provide more grazing area.

    As part of the plans, the Sulawesi crested macaques would then move into the former baboon home next door and every few months the baboons and macaques would swap enclosures to enable the gelada to be able to graze both banks.

    This in turn will enable the critically endangered yellow-breasted capuchins to move out of the small primate house into the old macaque exhibit, providing a larger more complex exhibit for these hugely active, highly intelligent South American primates.

    Plans to replace the Monkey Tails walk-through exhibit with the lorikeet experience are estimated to cost £40,000. The current residents, which include titi monkeys and white-Faced saki monkeys, would be rehoused with other primates.

    Mr Grove said: “Although the walk-through Monkey Tails attraction has always been popular with visitors, we believe

    that this spacious exhibit would better serve free- flying birds.”

    £200k Dudley Zoo revamp to bring animals closer Express & Star
     
  2. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    £200k sounds like a fair amount of money - but it's not a fortune by zoo standards. Nonetheless it is very welcome of course. When I visited Dudley in October I commented that the flamingo pool looked exactly as I remembered it from more than 40 years ago, so the upgrade is overdue - and particularly important as it is the first exhibit most people see after they enter the zoo.
    I'm not so sure about the idea of alternating the crested macaques and the geladas in a pair of enclosures: that grassy hillside is much more like the Ethiopian highlands than the forests of Sulawesi. There are other macaque species that would look more at home there, such as Japanese macaques. But a better home for the capuchins is welcome, and presumably the titis and sakis would take their place to allow Monkey Tails to become Lorikeet Pots: not a very original idea, but perhaps a better use of the space.

    Alan
     
  3. Benosaurus

    Benosaurus Well-Known Member

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    1) No mention of orangs

    2) No mention of bear ravine

    3) £120,000 (more than half the budget) on flamingos!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't they currently keep around five hybrid birds? Maybe 200K has been portioned off to spend solely on the bottom part of the zoo. However, there is still SO much more they could do with that money just on the lower level: Chimp fence (too weak for males), camels (tiny), bear ravine (so much potential yet unused), farmyard (scruffy), fairground area (diabolical) etc. etc..

    4) Why on earth would anyone want to view flamingos indoors?

    5) There isn't enough space, around the current flamingo pool, to build a new pool that will be of any significant increase in size.

    6) I think the 'former shop building' they're talking about converting into a new gelada walk-in viewing area is the one just to the left of the base of the chairlift; the building that contains the only public toilets in that part of the zoo. Are they going to replace these toilets?

    7) So it sounds like the geladas will have that nice natural bit of bank on the left of the chairlift (for at least part of the year) and the macaques will have their old enclosure on the right of the chair lift. So will they be building substantial new climbing structures for the macaques on that very steep, barren hillside?

    8) How will they get the gelada and macaque groups to swap enclosures every few months?

    9) I do think the capuchins will look good in the right hand tecton (the one with all the 'ladders') of the triple tecton complex. No idea if the indoor facilities (built in the 1930s for big cats) are adequate for a large group of small primates.

    10) Lastly, there are not enough expletives in my vocabulary to describe my feelings towards plans to replace the popular and wonderfully pleasant Monkey Tails with a lorikeet experience.

    Pile of s**t really!
    I shall be visiting this week.
     
    Last edited: 28 Dec 2015
  4. Maguari

    Maguari Never could get the hang of Thursdays. Premium Member

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    At the moment the flamingos are effectively offshow all winter. Some form of indoor viewing makes sense.


    Food bribery, I guess. :D


    That building has never felt properly-used since I've been visiting (last 20 years or so). I suspect it still won't!
     
  5. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    To be fair, this would not be a Rainbow Lorikeet walkthrough judging by the article, but rather one for Yellow-backed Chattering Lory - which is a bit more interesting. One never knows, they may include other taxa too.
     
  6. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    For one heart-stopping, spirit-soaring moment I though this thread said 200M.....
    That said, this sounds like very positive news.

    I am also unsure about how the macaque/baboon rotation will work; if they add climbing structures to the hillsides it will rather spoil the look of them, but it won't effect welfare and I think the bachelor group of males do use theirs.

    Presumably the relatively large budget for the flamingos will partially be spent on landscape resculpting or tree clearing to create space for a larger pool. It will be interesting to see what they do with this area.

    Hopefully the other enclosures in Monkey Tails will still be used for their current or other inhabitants. I think it was great when it had squirrel monkeys, but the current inhabitants are less active and we all know how popular lorikeet walkthoughs are. It would be good if they could make it work with some other birds in there as well. Equally perhaps they could add a ground dwelling species to the right-hand tecton along with the capuchins to make use of that space.
     
    Last edited: 28 Dec 2015
  7. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    These would (or to be hopeful, will) be much more expensive to do properly - and there's no point in doing them at all unless you do them properly.
    I think that this seems to be a sensible use of a limited amount of money.

    I missed this in the press article :eek: but I am sceptical: it actually says yellow-backed chattering lorikeets - which do not exist. The lories are notoriously aggressive, I have never seen them kept with other species. Indeed I don't know whether a group would live together harmoniously (perhaps a single-sex group might, does anyone know?). They might nip the kiddies' fingers too.

    Alan
     
  8. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    There are yellow-backed chattering lories free-flying in Wingham Wildlife Park's Tropical House with a range of other species. There is a species list in this picture.
    http://www.zoochat.com/1283/view-inside-tropical-house-420573/
     
  9. Benosaurus

    Benosaurus Well-Known Member

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    4) Why on earth would anyone want to view flamingos indoors?

    Most people like viewing flamingos when they're out in the light, around a pool. I'm not sure if the general public will like seeing them huddled together in a small dark shed or how much the flamingos will like being in close proximity to people banging on viewing glass. I'd move the flamingos elsewhere and build a nice cage for a new species of small cat or small primate for much less than £120K. Then I'd use the money I'd saved on a new chimp fence.


    8) How will they get the gelada and macaque groups to swap enclosures every few months?

    No I mean how will they go about transferring them? The enclosures will be separated by the chairlift (a major obstacle). Will they be connected by covered passageways/tunnels and will they be allowed to connect them underneath the chairlift? Will a separate area be needed to hold one species while the other species moves across? It sounds ugly and over-complicated.
     
  10. Angel

    Angel Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I like the fact that the flamingo pool is exactly as I remember it from more than 40 years ago. It is a constant in an ever-changing variety of happy memories from DZG over a number of years. Given that they have a relatively small group of birds (and I agree with Benosaurus, I think they are hybrids) it does seem rather OTT to spend over half the budget on altering their enclosure. However, I agree that some form of viewing window would make them accessible during the autumn/winter when its windy or icy.

    I think there is little point in upgrading the chimp enclosure to make it more suitable for males. IMO there is next to no likelihood of obtaining male chimps anytime soon unless they disband the existing female group which, given that they have lived together for some time now, would not necessarily be in their best interests.

    Monkey tails doesn't have the same feel since the squirrel monkeys left but I'm not really a bird person so, for me, lorikeets won't have any great attraction either.

    My preference would be to use the money on bulldozing the fairground (with no plan to replace it) and getting some livestock (preferably carnivorous) into bear ravine.
     
  11. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    Do you know if this is a single bird, a pair or a group? In Parrots in Aviculture (Blandford, 1992) Rosemary Low wrote 'Extremely aggressive, this species must never be kept with other birds' - although I expect she was referring to mated pairs, as lories are traditionally kept in this way.
    The space available in a Tropical House (such as Monkey Tails) might mitigate some aggression.

    Alan
     
  12. Maguari

    Maguari Never could get the hang of Thursdays. Premium Member

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    I'm a bit bemused - go to Chester, Whipsnade or Slimbridge (or many other collections holding flamingos) on a frosty winter day and you'll most likely see the flamingos in their houses, but on view either via indoor viewing or large viewing windows. It's entirely standard, though I've noticed places are much more inclined to kick them back outside on nice days in recent years.


    It just needs a couple of simple covered runs and probably a holding area linked to both of the two exhibits. Again, pretty standard stuff that I'm sure they will have considered.

    I think you're grasping for faults a little a here...



    I think it's two birds at Wingham, from memory, but not sure if they're a mated pair or not.
     
  13. lamna

    lamna Well-Known Member

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    While it may fall short of all our hopes and dreams, £200,000 wouldn't be enough for the big projects we're all hoping for.

    Overall I think this sounds like a good way to spend their money.

    I'm glad they are making a commitment to looking after their flamingos, they may "only" be hybrids but someone has to look after them, and flamingos can live a very long time indeed.

    The infrastructure will also be useful in the long run. A heated house and a bigger pool? I'm sure there are plenty of animals down the road that could be used for, if they don't just get a flock of pure flamingos.

    The shifting of monkeys also sounds like a good idea, rotating the macaques and gelada might be tricky, but as long as the macaques are on the bank during the warmer months for fairly short periods I expect it will work out.

    I'm glad the capuchins will be getting more space, and hope that means that Inca's home is also being considered for some of the bigger primates when she passes.

    As for the Lory walkthrough? I have a feeling that they are just following WMSP, but then that's hardly a new thing for zoos to copy each other. *cough*lemur walkthroughs*cough*

    Maybe it's just nostalgia, but I preferred it when it was full of birds, I enjoyed my time at the one at WMSP, and it ought to make the zoo a good bit of extra money, selling sugar water.

    They could even have photographers in there to take your pictures with the birds. I detest that sort of thing personally, but it could make a decent bit of money in the summer. It would be better than the posing in front of a greenscreen bollocks you get a a lot of attractions.

    If they really are going to have Chattering lorys, that will be cool too.
     
  14. Benosaurus

    Benosaurus Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I've never viewed flamingos indoors. This is probably because I only visit other collections in the warmer months, but that's just me. I am fully aware it's all standard stuff though, but I'm not sure how appealing it really is to the general public and therefore not sure if it is really worth the added cost. I also don't have much faith in DZG's ability to build above average housing that will look good to the general public.

    I was merely wondering how they will do things and how they will fit it in around the chairlift with the limited space they have. I just hope they get it right and don't spoil a nice bit of natural hillside unnecessarily. Yes these plans may indeed be simple, but maybe they could be simpler, better and far nicer to look at...

    Far simpler options are:

    A) to extend the current gelada enclosure towards the right (behind the fairground) and then let the macaques have their own enclosure left of the chair lift. Trouble is this doesn't provide the geladas with any additional grazing.

    B) to let the geladas have the run of both sides of the chairlift; connected by a single tunnel. No holding area or extra housing needed.

    C) to keep the geladas only in the left hand enclosure (which will no doubt be bigger and provide far more grazing) and the macaques on the right.

    D) to stick the geladas in the bear ravine. Macaques left of the chairlift and something new on the right.

    I think rotating two different species from entirely different habitats is silly.(B and D are my preferred options.)

    I'm disappointed that you think I'm grasping for faults. I've defended and supported DZG a great deal over the years. I only question things because I desperately want them to succeed :)
     
  15. lamna

    lamna Well-Known Member

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    As cool as it would be, don't think Dudley could have that chairlift going over the enclosure of any animal, let alone something as potentially dangerous as baboons.

    If it breaks down or someone falls out as it is currently the bad press would be nasty enough. If they fell in with the geledas it would be awful. Child falls from 60 year old chairlift in with killer baboons? (cue scary stock picture) I can see than all over the tabloids, even if nobody gets hurt.
     
  16. Angel

    Angel Well-Known Member

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    Some years ago I visited Prague Zoo and their chairlift went straight over the vulture enclosure. I'm not a fan of heights at the best of times and being suspended over vultures made it even more nerve-wracking!
     
  17. Asiaticlion2015

    Asiaticlion2015 Well-Known Member

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    With even the slightest chance of someone falling out of the chair lift and into a exhibit I don't think the zoo would allow it.
     
  18. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    Prague Zoo has a net below the chairlift so anyone falling out of the chairlift wouldn't go straight to the ground below (as well as the vulture exhibit mentioned above, the Prague Zoo chairlift also goes over a waterfowl pond and some very sharp and hard looking cliffs). Judging from pictures in the gallery (I haven't ever visited), Dudley doesn't have this, so I'm sure one could be installed, or something like that.
     
  19. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    I suppose they are making good use of the small funding they have been provided with. Other than the current small make-overs I cannot see them doing much else by it.

    For major new developments like the orangs, chimps and giraffe and all they really need much much more. Still silently hoping they can get that kind of funding together somehow soon.

    What is the current planning and expected time-frame for the new Black Country Museum and museum entrance display complex they were planning?
     
  20. Benosaurus

    Benosaurus Well-Known Member

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