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Melbourne Zoo A look at the Melbourne Zoo masterplan

Discussion in 'Australia' started by patrick, 23 May 2006.

  1. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    here i have taken the map of melbourne zoo and overlayed colour so we can see the areas that have been developed, areas planned to be developed and areas that are simply open for speculation.

    clearly we can see the zoos existing asian asian rainforest, australian bush and african rainforest sections.

    i have also taken the liberty of colouring in the area of the zoo that is soon to be redeveloped as an australian marine biome. as you can see it clearly overlays sections of the zoo that are curently inhabited by a variety of small cats, lions, coatis, binturongs and wild dogs and the amazon aviary with macaws and squirrel monkeys. the aviary is a heratage feature and will no doubt be retained, possibly refurbished for coastal birds. the lion park looks set to become a seal theater.

    in addition i have added numbered points on the zoo map. below i explain what each area is and what i expect it will be developed into.

    1) treetop monkeys & apes.
    this exhibit is located in the heart of the african rainforest though houses most of the zoos expansive collection of primates from around the world. the zoo has indicated its desire to demolish the 70's exhibit and there is a sizeable adjacent area of undeveloped land above between the tigers and butterly house. i expect to see area largely redeveloped for primates, however it will probably be better subdivided with african species viewed from the african trail and asian species from the other.

    2) old great ape exhibits.
    with the orangutans move to their new enclosure imminent the old great apes enclosures will now sit largely empty. in the long-term i would like to see the area re-developed into a new entrance into the african rainforest with room for bongo and other species. this will be especially important if area 1) is overtaken by the asian rainforest zone. behind the outdated facade and moats is a building that still provides night dens for the gorillas as well as these older exhibits. with the outside flintstone-esque enclosures being completely filled in a redeveloped they could easily become a new second gorilla or chimpanzee habitat. however there are rumours of the area being overtaken by a new "zoo enterance plaza" with cafe's and shops. in the short-term i predict the zoos two baboon troops will most definately move in. the exhibits, with their rocky cliffs will suit them perfectly.

    3) giraffe exhibit
    with a heratage listing on their home, the giraffes are unlikey to be moving anywhere. instead i expect the surrounding picnic lawns, platypus house and giant tortoise exhibits transformed into a mini-african savannah with just the staple giraffe, zebra, lion, meerkat and maybe a few others.

    4) bears, big cats & primate islands
    currently this area consists of a decent sized lake with islands for lemurs and soon to be relocated siamangs. a path winds around it where visitors can view badgers, bears, porcupines then numerous big cats and finally maned wolves and peccaries. i have read that the zoo intends on transforming this area into a coniferous/decidous temperate forest. this could work quite well as the "big cat preserve" (essentially a row of about 5 big cat cages with the nighthouses concealed at rear) need only newly designed frontages for them to be transformed into a series of great snow leopard and golden cat habitats. red pandas, tahr and aviaries would also fit suitably into the area but numerous, mostly south american species will need to be relocated first.

    5) the mixed bag!
    this little visited section of the zoo has some magnificent ancient moreton bay figs, an empty old elephant yard, and a mixed bag of small mammal and bird species from around the world. essentially there is only one thing for it - the area will probably become either a south american rainforest or papua new guinea rainforest or be divided into both. certainly, the well estblished trees in the area would make for a lovely rainforest no matter where it was supposed to represent.
     

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    Last edited: 23 May 2006
  2. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

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    u roc pat thnx so much for tht, its fantastic, do u have any info on the orangs, also the area u say next to asian precint u labled 1) i reackon put the asian primates there along with the tapir who is all alone up top.

    yes the old ape house should be done as wht u said, and maybe okapi, with adelaide soon considering an import of okapi.

    is south america being done, cause u could uopdate the area they are now in, and expand into tapir area uptop.

    um i have a few other ideas, love your ideas pat thnx for info, i havre to run off to skool now so thnx again
     
  3. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    where to fit all the animals?

    since the southeast asian section has almost run out of room it will be interesting to see how the zoo manages to fit in exhibits, not only for all the other asian animals it displays (and there are lots!) but the animals it has committed to display in the future (silvery gibbon, sunbears).

    unlike zoos in europe and the US who still reguarly build new "immersion" exhibits with a random mix of species, melbourne pioneered the idea of divinging up its exhibits based strictly on geographic range. for this reason it seems unlikey that the zoo will continue to have non-african primates on the african rainforest trail. i like the idea of a similar new and larger primate complex replacing the old one, but with african monkeys on one side and asian on the other, viewable from different trails on either side. this would no doubt be a bonus for the primate keepers who would still have the luxury of most of the zoos primates in the one area.

    melbourne has had its eye's peeled for bongo for sometime, hopefully they will end up somewhere around the african rainforest and not in a "savannah". no doubt once the adelaide pair breed we will get some.

    the creation of a "asian/himalayan highlands" exhibit over the other side of the zoo will allow the zoo to house some of it asian animals outside the asian rainforest that will probabaly not fit them all. as well as the snow leopards and red pandas - binturong and golden cats, dhole (which no doubt we will be housing eventually), clouded leopards, indian porcupines and others can all be found at reasonably high elevations in the himalaya and some deep into the cooler forests of china.

    but tell me Zoo_Boy - whats this about adelaide considering importing okapi?!!!
    you can't just drop that one casually - you know how much we all are obsessed with them!!!
     
  4. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

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    where to fit all the animals ?

    Is there any possibility that Melbourne Zoo can expand , and make more use of the somewhat underutilised Royal Park ?
     
  5. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

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    well the park idea was brought up some time ago wen considering eles in the aprk, but no happen so?

    on okapi ask ben, adelaide is his area soz not my place to say, he should get credit
     
  6. ZYBen

    ZYBen Well-Known Member

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    ..........
     
  7. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

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    OKAPI!!!

    re the melbpurne zoo expanding, Pat correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't this brought up a few years ago and there was outrage at the idea of the zoo taking up more of the valuable park space. ( Very boring park if I may say so)
     
  8. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    i remember hearing something about it. but one of the biggest issues of expanding the zoo was, and you guys will be gobsmacked by this one, the melbourne zoo perimeter fence was .......

    HERITAGE LISTED!!!!!

    the shock the horror! yes pretty much the entire zoo is heritage listed. maybe they should just give up and move the zoo someplace else.

    and yes - it seems royal park, which does have some magnificent old gum trees, but as jay said isn't the most exciting looking park, can be swallowed up by development for hospitals and hockey stadiums but propose filling a section of it with more trees and animals and it gets rejected.

    melbourne has been asking the state government to create a wetlands in the park (near the zoo) and that the zoo will take resposibility for restocking it with wildlife and vegetation and will use the wetlands as a filtration system for part of its new water treatment and recycling plant.
     
  9. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

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    Melbourne Zoo

    Just because a zoo and its fence is heritage listed , shouldnt be a reason for not expanding . The zoo can still keep the heritage items pretty much intact , but develop extre precints ( eg Wetlands , native Victorians , Kidzzoo etc) adjacent to the "original "zoo site , and have tickets that are valid for all parts of the zoo .

    The heritage aspects are a red herring to zoo development .

    Have you leaned on Dept of heritages Places ( or whatever it is called in Aust)
    and explained to them that (1) Original buildings are probably not suitable to house animals in zoos any more ,
    (2) Can you move the heritage items to one corner of the zoo ? It will not destroy the heritage value of the buildings , and it will help to creatre room for the zoo
    (3) The zoos MAIN objective is the wellbeing of the animals that live there , and not as an architectural museum piece . Heritage is a VERY minor consideration of any decent zoo .
     
  10. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

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    hay thought i would bring this alive again

    as i mentioned on another thread, im currently ripping up a melbourne map (digital) and making it a clear slate for every1 to design there own melbourne zoo.

    i jst need some more info on where the seals are, i am getting a good conatct at melbourne, so hopefully he will be able to help us all on the masterplan.
     
  11. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    ah - you found it.....

    a company i do some contract work for does all the artistic elements for zoos victorias new exhibits and taronga (they made the leopard in the tree in wild asia - and all the african huts, boats and models in werribees walking trail exhibits..). every time i go in for a meeting there are all these plans lying around for the new marine precinct at melbourne and i try and sneek a peek but am always too busy....

    next time...
     
  12. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

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    wow so is tht what u do as a job, a artist srta thing (i still love all ya drawings/sketaches you do post some new ones)

    yea i found it, its a good map u did, im removing everything that can be moved, and needs to be reddone, a new slate.

    so this is where u think its going the new seal precint, replaceing the bears and all. i will try and get the plans of this bloke from melbourne. i managed to get copies of the kubu river and lion exhibit wen i was a werribee, hopefully luck at melboure.
     
  13. Wildatart

    Wildatart Active Member

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    I completely agree with your thoughts here Nigel. I grew up out at the zoo and while I'm very happy with the recent developments some expansion would be excellent to help re establish it as a must see attraction here in Victoria.
     
  14. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    the melbourne shuffle....

    no not the dance move, i'm talking about the zoo...

    melbourne zoo is currently building a new "stories from the sea" marine precinct. certainly the old seal pool was one of the worst exhibits left at the zoo and its new, larger pools for the zoos penguins and seals is a welcome addition from me. but what next. what multi-million dollar exhibit has teh zoo got plans for next.

    i often wander around teh zoo and think what i would like to see change. being a big advocate of zoogeographic precincts, i don't like my pumas nextdoor to my leopards if you know what i mean. sometimes i get a little frustrated that i can't see all my animals in geographic precincts right now...

    or maybe i could!

    see after the seals all i want melbourne zoo to do is shuffle. i want everything shuffled around. you see i started to realise, that by simply shuffling alot of the animals around amongst the prexisting exhibits and throwing down a few new gravel paths the zoo can create 3 additional geographic precincts, as well as develop a whole bunch more room for its collection. all this with virtually no new exhibits being built. how? let me explain...

    THE AFRICAN RAINFOREST
    pygmy hippos will hopefully be returning to the zoo and the hippo exhibit. the otters can return to their old exhibit in the asian rainforest section. tree-top monkeys and apes becomes for african species only. the seven mesh enclosures will now hold only colobus, de brazza's guenons and ring-tail and ruffed lemurs. this will allow the zoo. this will allow the zoo to hold both batchelor groups as well as breeding groups for some of these species or to link enclosures giving the animals more space.


    THE ASIAN RAINFOREST
    the homeless javan langurs and gibbons from the treetops exhibits will move to the two islands in the pelican lake. the pelicans will be moving to the marine precinct so the water should be able to be cleaned. this will give both species much deserved room as well as make them viweable from both the tiger bridge and orangutan boardwalk. fishing cats move to the ricepaddy aviary. this exhibit is sturdy glassfronted and strong. birds can be more cheaply housed.
    binturongs get a new exhibit surrounding in the large peppercorn tree after the tigers. this is unused, wasted space and fences suitable for binturongs cost nothing to throw together. alternatively one can go on display in the second glass-fronted aviary.
    tree-shrews go in the lory aviary. the zoo builds a couple more cheaper aviaries to accommodate the displaced birds.

    THE AFRICAN SAVANNAH
    the path past the giraffes/zebras/ostrich will now cut through the animals paddock and wind back towards the giant tortoises and lead up the overpass for lions/wild dogs. one simple diversion and you have succeeded in creating a "savannah trail" at the zoo, linking preexisting animals without moving them from their exhibits. a second meerkat exhibit exists just after the platypus. this can stay put, but a second meerkat exhibit near the tortoises could house the colony near the entrance. african plantings new signage and some cultural elements tacked-on to the refurbed enclosures (such as stick fencing replacing existing safety barriers) would tie it all nicely together.

    SOUTH AMERICAN RAINFOREST
    the area i propose this happens is currently a dead empty section of the zoo.
    the baboons have gotta go, and if an exhibit for them can't be built immediately at werribee then they best take one of the ape grottoes that
    now hold batchelor gorillas. after all, one grotto is already currently taken up by guenons who will now have their old treetops exhibits back.
    the spider monkeys will be move into the island in the japanese garden that already has unused primate facilities on it. they can now be viewed from the bistro. the japanese garden is demolished. brazilian tapir return to the zoo and move into the old elephant exhibit. if not, this can be taken up by the maned wolves, who apparently can't jump so will be contained sufficiantly with the existing moat. the tamarins already have exhibits opposite.
    peccaries could go just about anywhere but one option is the quokka exhibit thats already in this location. jaguars and puma can either have a new adjoining exhibits built for them (that will eventually house just jaguars) or they can live out their days in the old baboon exhibits, which if refurbed and planted out would leave the animals no worse off that they already are. one tree-kangaroo exhibit and two red panda exhibits also already exist here, perfect, as is, for coatis and brazilian agouti. macaws and the squirrel monkeys might need a new aviary, but hey, there is gonna be plenty of space here and both species are already held behind the scenes.

    HIMALAYAN (ASIAN) HIGHLANDS
    this area replaces what is currently mixed exhibits for bears, big cats, maned wolves lemurs. the idea is that a reconfiguration of the paths could lead vistors on a trail into the mountains of asia. initially this exhibit will also hold some other phase-out species form asian mountain regions, but eventually will just house himalayan species.

    with the south a american animals and lemurs gone
    from the area the zoos big cat cages can be utilised almost exclusively for snow leopard breeding. meaning more animals. in the meantime the golden cats can move here and the persian leopard can stay also.

    the red pandas, displaced from their exhibits can move into the two exhibits currently holding badger and porcupine. as these enclosures have suitable fences and also have tall trees. years ago the panda shared with the indian porcupines so hopefully they can stay as can the geriatric badger is its still alive by then. indian crested porcupines inhabit the same himalayan habitat as the pandas in the wild. obviously the bears stay (however i wish they got an exhibit extension) and the peccary/maned wolf exhibits are demolished to house himalayan tahr and some colourful himalayan bird aviaries (parakeets, pheasants greenfinches etc..). lastly, the lion-tail macaques, from the high mountains of the western ghats in southern india, take up residence on the primate islands previously used for ring-tail lemurs.

    so thats about it. it can be done without building any exhibits at all, just a few refurbs. and whats best - the zoo actually ends up with more exhibits. think about it. the small cats alleys remain, holding surplus binturongs, cats etc.. the tree-top apes exhibit now has room to hold two groups of colobus, ruffed lemur and guenon. the zoo could certainly import more coati, as they now have three enclosures suitable for them in the south american section of the zoo. likewise if the wanted to move the maned wolves to werribee or build them another cheapo exhibit (they currently are contained with cyclone fencing) then the zoo is free to get brazilian tapir back on display again. if a new jaguar/puma exhibit was made, then the baboon exhibits gives them another row of multipurpose off-exhibit cages in which to hold surplus/additional stock.

    if your wondering what of the tree kangaroos, well they can always take up residence in the now empty coati exhibit. likewise the playpus can always stay where they are too, since they are outside of any particular geographic zone (though i would love to see some galagos move in there). keep in mind the zoo also has plenty off off-exhibit enclosures too.

    this whole plan would be a super cheap and easy way to relaunch the whole zoo looking new and different, as well as opening up some flexibility to make new acquisitions or breed species. it also places all the species in geographic zones, which gives the zoo opportunities to fine-tune its conservation messages, which i believe is both important and practical.

    of course this would allow the zoo to also maintain such a large collection of animals for the time being, though this is just a short term plan - i have some ideas for the longer term, which i'll post later..

    below is a doctored map showing my ideas i have just expressed, as well as below that another map showing the zoos current layout...
     

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  15. PAT

    PAT Well-Known Member

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    That sounds great but how small are you thinking of making the giraffe exhibit. And the tree kangaroos could be moved to an exhibit built outside the exit of the great flight aviary near the cassowaries.
     
  16. Jarkari

    Jarkari Well-Known Member

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    Is it later yet. . . . . ? Sounds pretty good
     
  17. PAT

    PAT Well-Known Member

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    I thought of two other things. There is an aviary at the end of the asia trails with the interative centre next to it that i am yet to see a bird in so all the rice paddy birds can go there. And do sun bears live in the mountains because they could move into the bear pit if it is little planted and prettied up. I don't actually mind that cage because it has two glass viewing windows and a view from the top of a hill but it's only let down is that the bears are way toobig for it.
     
  18. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

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    you should email that to the zoo.
     
  19. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    PAT - the giraffe exhibit would actually be bigger since it would now extend towards the tortoises.

    also, i agree, that particular asian aviary is so poorly landscaped, i don't think i have ever seen a bird in there either. in fact i don't think anyone has. maybe a fishing cat could go there? (not that it would be much more exciting!) as admittedly the rice paddy aviary is excellent and it would be a shame to move the birds out.

    and lastly, next time you visit the zoo, take a second look at the bear exhibit. its a perfect example of "zoo stinginess" - that when designers make the error of thinking that features such as viewing glass make a lick of difference to the bears and cut them short on space. its tiny, lacks a lot of natural surfaces and the bears have few views outside the exhibit. it need not be demolished, just extended up towards the coatis. i'de say it needs to be at least five times bigger.

    sunbears unfortunately, do not live in high altitude conferous/deciduous forest.....(but giant pandas do;))
     
  20. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

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    The two bird aviaries that are part of the elephants exhibit are just about empty. They could be used for the tree shrews. I really like your ideas Patrick. It makes a lot of sense, wouldn't cost the zoo a lot and provide a complete refreshment for the neglected areas. Now how do we get you on to the development board of the zoo.:)