Join our zoo community

Melbourne Zoo A look at the Melbourne Zoo masterplan

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

  1. Triffle

    Triffle Active Member

    Joined:
    3 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    40
    Location:
    Melbourne
    The last time I visited Melbourne Zoo was in February and I was slightly disappointed in the Zoo's progression; most notably the refurbishing (or should I say further ruining) the Syrian Bear enclosure, inability to acquire Pigmy Hippos and the relocation of otters into what was once the African Rainforest (I hadn't been to the Zoo for a year, so was unaware of this change).

    As a result of this, I was contemplating across last weekend how i would like to see the Zoo progress. I eventually came up with a masterplan to develop the zoo; which is highly optimistic, though still viable in terms of land use and animals displayed (certainly not financially though! It would probably take 18 years for the completion of this redevelopment). The Zoo's progression will obviously be considerably different to my plans, especially due to the Zoo wanting to have a greater focus on SE Asian species than what my masterplan entails, but here are my ideas anyway, divided into stages (Warning: I have "borrowed" some ideas from this forum which I liked).
     
  2. Triffle

    Triffle Active Member

    Joined:
    3 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    40
    Location:
    Melbourne
    STAGE 1
    Focus on re-establishment of African Rainforest. African flora planted, Otters relocate back to Asian Rainforest, reacquisition of Pygmy Hippos and removal of FOTZ research hut in favour of small aviary featuring 4-5 African bird species (the latter probably isn’t viable). The major development would be demolishment of arboreal primate’s Tree-Top walk; this area along with unused space b/w TOTE and Tigers developed into 2 areas accessed from African and Asian Rainforests respectively. This would require the primates temporarily relocating (Spider monkeys to Japanese Garden’s Island; Lion-tailed Macaques phased out; WC Gibbons to Big Cat Lake; Colobus’, Langurs and Guenons to the old Ape grottoes, ruffed lemurs off display, Tree Shrews to their new permanent home in Lori exhibit in Asian Rainforest). African Rainforest section would feature spacious exhibits for Colobus monkeys and DeBrazza’s monkeys, viewed from ground level, and would also include an aviary for Love birds and a mixed species exhibit for Bongos and Red River Hogs. Asian section would feature a Tree-Top walk with improved exhibits for the Zoo’s WC Gibbons, Javan Langurs and Binturong, as well as exhibits for new species; Silvery Gibbons and Pig-tailed Macaques (which would replace the Zoo’s current Macaques as they are better suited to an Asian Rainforest precinct).
     
  3. Triffle

    Triffle Active Member

    Joined:
    3 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    40
    Location:
    Melbourne
    STAGE 2
    Development of Asian Rainforest “riverbanks” themed exhibits; previously mentioned on this thread. It would house Small-Clawed Otters, Fishing Cats, Malayan Tapirs (there may not be enough space for Tapirs) and wetland birds (most of which also found in Australia), plus numerous reptile and fish species.

    STAGE 3
    Completion of African Rainforest and South-East Asian Rainforest zones. Former otter exhibit appropriately converted into exhibit for Clouded Leopard. O-Lines constructed through South-East Asian Rainforest for resident Orang-utans and Siamangs. Former Great Apes Grottoes and surrounding viewing areas demolished to make way for expanded African Rainforest. New precinct to feature entrance to African Rainforest, Research centre promoting education and conservation for Gorillas and Chimpanzees, & a Lemur exhibit, with the Zoo’s ring-tailed and ruffed species integrated into same enclosure. Major attraction, however, would be spacious, rainforest habitat for new species to the Zoo, Chimpanzees. If this is not viable, then a secondary Gorilla exhibit could be developed instead.
     
  4. Triffle

    Triffle Active Member

    Joined:
    3 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    40
    Location:
    Melbourne
    STAGE 4
    Establishment of a Zoo Plaza. Complete redevelopment of cafeteria/bistro/gift shop precinct, along with grassed area b/w this and Carousel Park, and possibly the playground in Carousel Park. Multi-level building, dubbed “Zoo Plaza”, constructed; featuring improved bistro, gift shops, toilets, photo centre, function rooms, possibly an auditorium, large cafeteria (with better catering!) and indoor tables/chairs. Surrounding the Plaza would be area for numerous tables/chairs, with a grassed area and playground connected: forming one massive public facilities precinct. The area would connected and themed with the new Marine Precinct, and be more “open” towards the Japanese gardens; an area often neglected by visitors of the Zoo.

    STAGE 5
    Carousel Park transformed into Bear Canyon. Carousel phased, remaining features in Carousel Park and paths on the Southern end of it cleared. Area used to construct spacious and naturalistic exhibit for Sun Bears, allowing Melbourne to display more viable Bear species. If additional room is available, complementary exhibits could be built featuring Slow Lorises, Javan Mongooses and Flying Foxes; ultimately creating an Asian nocturnal house. The area would be a smaller, secondary South-East Asian Rainforest zone; opposite the primary area along the Main Drive. Syrian Bears phased out, with Baboons temporarily relocating to former Bear exhibit.
     
  5. Triffle

    Triffle Active Member

    Joined:
    3 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    40
    Location:
    Melbourne
    STAGE 6
    Expansion of Australian Bush. Northern section of African Savannah mixed species exhibit and Kangaroo Island Kangaroo paddock properly “integrated” into an extended Australian Bush. AusBush divided into two sections; woodlands and outback. Woodlands area includes current Woodlands aviary, Goanna exhibit, Koala and Echidna exhibit and Wombat Burrow; with the later begin the transitional area from woodlands to outback. New exhibit for Tasmanian Devils also featured in this area. Outback section includes current Waterhole aviary; outdoor wombat exhibit; extended billabong with relocated waterfowl from South-Eastern corner of Zoo including Black Swans (remaining waterfowl to GFA, Marine Precinct or Asian riverbanks area, or phased out); extended walk-through Macropod exhibit featuring Red Kangaroos, Emus, Pademelons, Red-necked Wallabies and Eastern-Grey Kangaroos, replacing the Zoo’s Kangaroo Island Kangaroo mob; finch aviary; additional aviaries; and new rocky, arid exhibit for Yellow-Footed Rock Wallabies, Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies and Quokkas.

    STAGE 7
    Formation of Australasian Rainforest and relocation of Platypus House. Unused part of former bison paddock developed into small Rainforest zone displaying species primarily from New Guinea. New exhibit with lush undergrowth to become spacious new home of Zoo’s Southern Cassowary. Mixed species exhibit featuring Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo, Dorcopsis Wallabies and Short-beaked or Long-beaked Echidnas. New location for lorikeet feeding area and aviary displaying birds from New Guinea and Northern Australia also constructed (possibly with Bird of Paradise?!). If room permits, a “Crocodilian complex” with 3 exhibits could be built featuring indoor and outdoor sections. Complex to display Zoo’s Fresh-Water Crocs, New Guinea Crocs (replacing Zoo’s Philippines Crocs) and Salt-Water Crocs. Exhibits in Reptile House which display Crocs converted into exhibits for other reptiles (Komodo Dragons, perhaps?).

    New Platypus House constructed at former site of Tapir exhibit; perhaps appropriately located beside Water-Recycling Plant. The new house to feature improved exhibit, and possibly display for fresh-water fish, eels and yabbies.
     
  6. Triffle

    Triffle Active Member

    Joined:
    3 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    40
    Location:
    Melbourne
    STAGE 8
    Expansion of African Savannah mixed species exhibit; establishing an “African Savannah Waterhole”. Meerkats relocated back to former exhibit or current quokka exhibit; and new Giant Tortoise exhibit built closer to Reptile House (possibly indoor section within Reptile House in former home of Crocs). These exhibits, along with current viewing area for Savannah paddock, neighbouring picnic and grassed areas, current Platypus house, Victorian grasslands display and grassed area b/w Savannah exhibit and Giant Tortoises/Reptile House used for expanded Savannah exhibit. Animal night quarters relocated from Eastern side of exhibit to Western side, beside Giraffe House. Eastern side of former wall for the Giraffe exhibit demolished. Viewing of expanded exhibit accessed from Main Drive; with African-styled platforms. Exhibit featuring current residents: Rothschild’s Giraffes, Plains Zebras, Ostriches and Helmeted Guineafowl, plus Eland or Impala.

    STAGE 9
    Establishment of African Savannah Trail to complement “Savannah Waterhole”. Mass relocation/phasing out of species; Bobcat, Persian Leopard and Maned Wolf phased at, as they don’t suite any bioclimatic zone within this masterplan; Hunting Dogs to former Wolf exhibit; Lions to vacant Big Cats cages; Porcupines to Binturong exhibit; Coatis to current Tree Kangaroo exhibit; Serval and Golden Cats to Baboon cages; badgers taken off display. Lion Park, Small cat alley, part of current Bear exhibit, surrounding small mammal enclosures and pathways demolished to make way for precinct. Area set in Savannah habitat and featuring African-styled signage and shelters. New exhibits constructed for African Lion and African Hunting Dog; though with comparatively similar size to current enclosures. Major development to be new exhibits with considerably more room and better landscaping than current exhibits for Hamadryas Baboons and Serval. New exhibit for Slender-tailed Meerkat, located next to Main Drive; and exhibit for Vervet Monkeys also included in development.
     
  7. Triffle

    Triffle Active Member

    Joined:
    3 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    40
    Location:
    Melbourne
    STAGE 10
    Construction of South American Rainforest in South-Eastern Corner of Zoo. Golden cats relocated to spare Big Cats cages. Tamarins and remaining aviaries taken off display. Red Pandas and Coati (if viable) relocated to islands in Big Cat Lake (or moved to vacant Big Cats cages, taken off display). Most of former Elephant exhibit (except Elephant House), penguin, baboon, red panda, tree kangaroo, quokka, meerkat, tamarin and Australian waterfowl exhibits, along with surrounding paths and grassed areas cleared; with luscious Rainforest habitat prevailing through the area. The precinct to feature “Jungle Cats” exhibits; with new homes for Zoo’s Jaguars and Pumas. Tree-top walk constructed; with viewing for exhibits featuring Black-handed Spider Monkeys, Coatis, Cotton-Top Tamarins, Golden Lion-tailed Tamarins, Emperor Tamarins, Capuchin or Howler Monkeys (new species) and walk-through aviary featuring Zoo’s Common Spider Monkeys, Macaws, Conures, Parakeets, Agoutis and Water Dragons, plus additional imported birds; including Toucans. Central exhibit to zone will be mixed species enclosure featuring Zoo’s Collard Peccaries plus Brazilian Tapirs and Capybara. Trail complete with Tarantula display (similar to Auckland Zoo).
     
  8. Triffle

    Triffle Active Member

    Joined:
    3 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    40
    Location:
    Melbourne
    STAGE 11
    Completion of Zoo, with formation of Himalayan Highlands zone. Red pandas, snow leopards and golden cats taken off display. Remaining bear exhibit, Big Cats cages, maned wolf exhibit, Big Cats Lake, peccary exhibit and neighbouring grassed areas converted in temperate zone displaying animals from the Himalayas. Main attractions would be Snow Leopards “Sanctuary” and new Nepalese Red Panda exhibits. Complementary exhibits built for Eurasian Badgers, Indian-Crested Porcupines and Asiatic Golden Cats. Aviary displaying Himalayan birds including pheasants constructed. Exhibit for Tahr (new species to the Zoo); obviously featuring a miniature, rocky mountain. Possible exhibit for Dhole if room permits.

    Melbourne Zoo has stated on its website its objective of exhibiting and conserving animals found in Australia, New Guinea, South-East Asia and Africa. However, I personally believe Melbourne should take Adelaide Zoo’s approach in focusing on displaying animals from all regions of the former Gondwana super-continent; thus including South America and India. The masterplan showcased here is aimed at dividing the Zoo into naturalistic precincts representing bioclimatic zones of each region; Australia: Marine, Woodlands and Outback (effectively arid/desert zone); New Guinea: Rainforest; South-East Asia: Rainforest; South America: Rainforest; Africa: Rainforest and Savannah; and India: Himalayan temperate zone, effectively representing a region in which 2 continents collided (Eurasia and India). Notable acceptations will be “Bug and Butterflies”, Reptile House and “World of Frogs”.
     
  9. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2005
    Posts:
    1,765
    Location:
    australia
    nice ideas mate, quite a thoughtful response...
    but sadly, quarantine laws would flaw many of your ideas....
    for example, red river hogs, or any other pig species cannot be imported into Australia. the same goes for Pygmy Hippo, the process of re-acquiring this species hinges on the success of the breeding program in Sydney.
    nor too can birds, such as birds of Paradise, or Toco Toucans. Similarly, many mongoose species are considered a hazard and unless zoos in this region could overcome this and then forumulate a highly valid ex-situ conservation program it is unlikely Javan Mongoose would ever be imported.
    similarly, whilst we lament the loss of big cat species such as jaguar and puma, it would make very little sense to spend money on new enclosures for them when they are dying out, or for macaques, and in the mean time relegate lions to substandard exhibits. many of the exhibits you suggest are actually species recommended for phasing out, this would include Asiatic Golden Cats.
    otherwise good ideas, you should try and read the ARAZPA report Going Going Gone; A zoo without exotic animals to gain an insight into what Australia's viable zoo collection might consist of in a decades time. some things have changed since the report was released in 2006-but mostly still all true.
     
  10. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    1 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    6,396
    Location:
    Abbotsford, B.C., Canada
    @Triffle: outstanding effort in your 11 stages of Melbourne Zoo development. The cost factor would be enormous for such an endeavour, and as Glyn has pointed out the massive number of restrictions regarding imports into Australia would eliminate many of your proposed changes. But overall you put a lot of time and effort into the process, and should be commended for that.
     
  11. Triffle

    Triffle Active Member

    Joined:
    3 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    40
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I suppose it was more of a "dream" masterplan. I realised that bird species and mongooses couldn't be imported; though I didn't know that hippos were off-limits. Why are Asiatic Golden Cats being phased? Aren't they from South-East Asia, the region most Zoos in Australia are focusing on.
     
  12. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    26 Nov 2005
    Posts:
    1,462
    Location:
    Australia
    Zoos can focus on a region, and sad as it is, we simpley can not focus on all species in that region. So we focus on high priority species, but also educational animals, but as well, animals play one ach other as well. We simply do not have enough spaces for 2 small cats from asia- the otehr being the fishing cat, so after assesment, the region has decided to focus soley on fishing cats, due to there has been a history of successfull births, and the avst knowledge we have on keeping them. On the other hand Golden cats do not breed easily on exhibit, and require vast amounts of time and experience to breed. they are very very secretive and only breed off exhibit.

    But hope is not lost, in case you didnt know, all golden cats, or a magoirty have been sent to auckland zoo, where they have successfully breed, and raised kittens. And they have devoted them entirely to off exhibit breeding. menaing a vast amount of resources have been devoted to an animal not on exhibit. I think its a great step.
     
  13. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    11 Apr 2007
    Posts:
    2,402
    Location:
    Oldham
    Great news about the Golden cats!

    Fishing cast make great exhibits, so I can see why you've gone for them in Australia...
     
  14. NZ Jeremy

    NZ Jeremy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    13 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    1,106
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Good stuff Triffle... Enjoyed the read..!
     
  15. dragon(ele)nerd

    dragon(ele)nerd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    2,496
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    I kinda understand about the otters but i think it is best that Timothy (the hippo) stays at Taronga he will serve a better purpose there. But i don't know about any where that Melbourne can aquire more pygmys.

    Does anyone here know?
     
  16. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2005
    Posts:
    1,765
    Location:
    australia
    OK, well put simply pygmy hippo are one of the most 'critically endangered' exotic taxa in Australian zoos. There population has been reduced through a combination of different factors to become incredibly vulnerable. The loss of just one or two animals could spell the end for this species in Australian zoos.
    For the last few decades Taronga, Melbourne, Adelaide and Tipperary maintained this species.
    Melbourne Zoo lost its breeding female a few years back after a few calves. These calves ended up overseas???
    Taronga lost its breeding male to a rat-borne virus and ended up maitaining a female, mother/daughter pair for many years.
    Adelaide got down to just one female.
    And Tipperary animal's ended up at Cairns, where they bred in September 2006.
    Since late 2007 the pygmy hippo population in mainstream Australian zoos has been concentrated in Sydney. Basically, Melbourne's MALE and ADELAIDE'S FEMALE plus Taronga's 30+ female who is not participating in the program.
    SO.....
    to answer your question.
    the only way Melbourne Zoo will ever get Pygmy Hippos back is this...
    a-the breeding program fails and Timmy is returned to Zoos Victoria
    b-the breeding program succeeds and Timmy is sent back after breeding
    c-Sydney-bred offspring are sent to Melbourne
    d-Cairns-bred offspring are sent to Melbourne
    The future of this species in Australian zoos long-term hinges, critically, on Timmy and Petra? reproducing in Sydney and their offspring being sent to other Australian zoos, inclusing Melbourne for breeding with Cairns bred hippo. Such a transfer will unite the only two bloodlines left in the nation and effectively see this species maintained for another 30 yeard without inbreeding....
     
  17. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    1,323
    Location:
    sw england
    Why can't the old female pygmy at Taronga move to Melbourne as a display animal until all the breeding takes place? Better than the otters in that exhibit.

    It may have been mentioned in some other hippo-orientated thread, but why exactly are pygmies banned from import? Have import laws been changed so that hippos fall into the same category as pigs?
     
  18. Ara

    Ara Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    5 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    1,124
    Location:
    Sydney (Northern Suburbs)
    All artiodactyls (even-toed ungulates) which includes hippos, pigs, camels, deer, antelopes, sheep and goats are effectively prohibited from importation from overseas due to the threat of introducing diseases into Australia's grazing industry. (I whinge about it, but even I can see the necessity for it.)

    Perissodactyls (odd-toed ungulates) which are horses, tapirs and rhinos, are allowed entry, under strict conditions.
     
  19. Ara

    Ara Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    5 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    1,124
    Location:
    Sydney (Northern Suburbs)
    Hang on, I just realised what you said, glyn; Melbourne zoo, knowing that the species could no longer be imported, EXPORTED the pygmy hippos it bred?

    Im speechless!
     
  20. ZooPro

    ZooPro Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    9 Mar 2006
    Posts:
    673
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I'm not agreeing that Melbourne exported it's calves (I don't have time to check right now), but if one cow (or pair) produces multiple offspring, what on earth is the point of keeping them all as the next generation? We end up with a bunch of full sibs as our breeding population.

    So, why not export some of them, making more spaces, to get unrelated animals?

    No need to be speechless Ara!