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ZOO Antwerpen Antwerp Zoo ,Antwerp ,Belgium

Discussion in 'Belgium' started by Mephistopheles, 26 Apr 2006.

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  1. Mephistopheles

    Mephistopheles Member

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    Zoo of Antwerp / Antwerp Zoo
    Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp
    Koningin Astridplein 26 Antwerp B2018
    Belgium

    Belgium ,for those who might not know ,is a small country in Western Europe. Though small ,it is, was and will be big in some things. It's big in politics - has the seat of European Union, big in sports, especially cycling sport and motor sport and is also great at zoos .

    The Antwerp zoo ,first opened it's door on July 21st ,1843 , is the biggest tourist attraction of the city of Antwerp ,a city ,very old and very modern at thesame time ,although in all honesty pretty old-fasioned and with visible decay and neglection in certain areas ,and - without being bad-mouthed or racist - racial tensions in some areas like Borgerhout , of which I prefer not to mention the names they give these areas here. Not to my surprise.
    A busy day in summer can give up to 10,000 (10000) visitors in ode day at the zoo. People ,not only Flamish people , but also Walloons and people from abroad.
    The Antwerp zoo is internationally famous.

    It's one of the few green lungs (sorry about hte expression) in an ever growing and developping city with a HUGE port area and a terrible lot of industry ,under which dangerous industrial activities.
    In this city ,I believe ,some people ,and also others ,in a world in which people become ever more unknowing and stranged from the nature we one day from , people want a piece of nature. However, at first ,like most zoos, this zoo was started only for pride for the ,at the time of founding ,small city of Antwerp and to built up an animal collection.

    I have to point out a few major points in the zoo's history ,which are crucial to the understanding of the zoo as of today.
    I already mentioned the founding year 1843.
    Further more between 1843 and 1910 (the last date is uncertain) ,the zoo grow from a 1.5 hectare (a nectare is a square of 100 by 100 metres , about equal to 2.5 acres) to the current 10 hectares.
    Also ,in 1903 the Central station of Antwerp was built right next too the zoo. A reaction was the new entrance and the buildings next to the Queen Astrid square ,all still existing and at least on the outside unchanged untill today.
    Shortly afterwards the reptile house (opened first 1906) ,on top of the aquariuml (not opened untill 1910) were built , as well as the Hagenbeck area in the northwest corner in 1908 : a terrain above the ground level , with tehj big terrain exhibit , an area with a lot of rocks an,d a bridge ,animals in a pit with rock walls , a mountain (recently rebuilt) and with also all kinds of buildings like quarantaine, extra exhibits and cages , laboratory ,kitches ,garages etc under these. This area is so much high above the ground to hide the buildings aroudn the zoo (although ,noiw with the new office towers ,this helps less and less ,and the huge central station ever stays visible).
    This station did destroy the possibilities of enlargement for the zoo and up to at least 3 times almost became the zoo's death.
    Two of these 3 periods were the extremely sad world wars. In that era ,precision weapons weren't yet invented and a lot of bombs for the station hit the zoo. Two times it almost got destroyed, but two times it was saved. Things changed according to new scientific views after the second world war (Walter van de Bergh being the director of teh age). It wasn't untill the 1990's (after a new crisis in the 1970's and 1980's) that things really changed ,with a lot of new buildings from 1997 till today ,a master plan to guide teh zoo into the 21st century. Especially since 2001 and a lot in 2005 n,thigns changed (if demanded,I'll give a list of all the things changed from 1997 till now).

    I don't have much time anymore,I'll point out some main points of the zoo tomorrow.
    I'll give you guys a link to my Antwerp zoo photo album , so you guys get an impression what the antwerp zoo is like.
    http://cochin007.fotopic.net/c800322.html

    This collection of photos also has a map of antwerp zoo in it (two parts ,with and without things written on it.).
     
  2. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

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    Antwerp Zoo

    It is good to see the photos . And even though it is small , and no real chance to expand , it is good that it can attract alot of people , and be a "Green Lung" in an industrialised city .
    I will be interested to know more about their longer term plans .
     
  3. Mephistopheles

    Mephistopheles Member

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    As I said ,in Antwerp ,no understanding of the future and the today without understanding and knowing the past.

    I told that director Walter van de Bergh already changed a lot of things ,but ,unfortunately ,couldn't yet stap down from teh old principles of the animal collection. However, he did add science , new views on exhibits (including terrace structures, rock walls ,moats etc) and he also invented the so called Antwerp cage (birds in light cages ,with a dark visitor space). The dark hallways in the bird house is still there now, however it's bad ,it usually smells like bird **** there ,and it'll dissapear. It has been done a lot.

    Walter Van den Bergh did good things, but the final boost only came after a new crisis time in the 1970's and 1980's ,under the managment of director frederic J. Daman (also founder of the EAZA) .
    It took untill the 1990's for the first fundamental changes to take place (also ,the masterplan to bring the zoo into the 21st century ,has had trouble because of financial problems in the late 1990's and around the year 2000 , but since some years the government gives teh Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp ,that also owns Planckendael Animal Park ,a congress and concert centre and a nature reserve here in Belgium , a government financial aid of 12% of the yearly income of the zoo ,untill this day).
    The first things to change was the building of Vriesland ,a building with acclimatised exhibits for penguins and sea otters behind glass, with snow,cold water etc. It seems to be quite good.
    Furthermore ,a new elephant exhibit ,almost 4 times the size of the old one ,was made.
    Also a new wetlands biome was built to provide a better home for the hippos and the tapirs ,as well as the wetland birds , than the old aviaries and the former ,dark and small hippo house. This did result in the moving of a lot of animals in the zoo and the depart of some species from the zoo ,forever.
    I can't explain all too people who d on't know the zoo ,but also the small mammal house ,the children zoo had minor changements.
    In 2005 ,they made new exhibits for cape buffalos and zebras , as well as a new deer exhibit ,remaking of a part of the aquarium , changing in some bird aviaries , nthe new nocturnal animal house ,the new himalayan mountain etc.
    Atm ,they are remaking the reptile house.

    Very god remark Nigel. The zoo is expanding. Idf you look at teh maps on, my site ,you'll see the white and greyish blocks in the top of the map. This zoo is an expansion zone. T5he zoo bought 31 houses here ,which will soon be torn down.
    Future projects are a new congo/rainforest biome on the side of children zoo , okapis and monkey and ape house, further a savannah biome on the giraffe and buffalo/zebra side. They will be done in period 2008-2010. this will result in major changes also of the current sucky restaurant and drink stand system. Later this year the houses will be torn down and temporary enlargments for some animals will be made.
    That's all I can say for now.
     
  4. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    Mephistopheles,

    whats it like having to keep a large majority of zoo animals indoors in a country like belgium? and are there any problems associated with this? we are lucky in australia that we can keep almost all our animals outside, year round. i would be interested to hear how the weather effects the operations of a northern zoo. are you finding there is a shift amongst these temperate zoos to more cold-tolerant species?
     
  5. Mephistopheles

    Mephistopheles Member

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    If you are saying Antwerp zoo is because of this reasons a bad zoo or should keep different animals,I do not like your suggestion.
    I don't agree northern zoos should only keep cold-orientated species.
    Also ,you're saying that many animals are kept INSIDE is wrong. It's true some of the animals in my photos are inside ,but I - as frequent visitor - can in all honesty say a lot of species have outside exhibits. I'd even say that most species ,even cold-sensitive birds ,have outside exhibits.
    But ,I do think weather conditions affect the operations of zoos. Animals like reptiles and fish and some birds are kept in heated buildings ,as well as monkeys and other primates (they are comming down from that ,although).
    I don't think weather conditions give severe problems , but it's true in winter time (depends on how strong winters are) that some animals need extra heating and some are even sometimes brought inside. But msot animals , includind a lot of exotic species , are even out in winter. There is a noticable difference in operations, but still.
    I can't really see a shift to more cold-tolerant animals , at least not in Antwerp. But some other temperate zoos lately keep more and more cold-tolerant species or either get more appropriate installations.
    Could you explain exactly whgat animals you were reffering too ?
    And ,were you suggesting that temperate zoos should stop having heated buildings and should change to more cold-orientated species ? I don't agree too that matter. Not at all.
     
  6. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

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    well i dont think opat was sayin tht, jst what are the probs associated with it, i would also agree that so many probs would arise, but as u have said no.

    does the zoo keep elephants, how many, and do they spend long inside in the cold months?- no critisism just a simple question:)
     
  7. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    here we go again...

    your rediculous mephistopheles!!!!

    once again your a making presumptions that i am saying something that i am not - taking it personally, having a cry about it - and then agreeing with me and answering my question.

    i didn't actually say that i think zoos northern zoos should focus on cold tolerant species. but since you are itching to argue the matter with me anyway....

    okay yes. i think cold places like antwerp should focus on more cold tolerant species!

    if i was a gorilla i wouln't enjoy living indoors all winter. i don't think elephants enjoy it too much either....
     
  8. MARK

    MARK Well-Known Member

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    Your right Zoo_Boy, If a zoo can give there animals first class exhibits and their health comes first then there is no reason that these zoos in Europe and north America cant not kept most tropical species, indeed some of the best animal collections i ever seen are in these regions, When i saw as an example the large group of Asian elephants in Canada that are not only thriving but are breeding well it go to show these animals can do really well there.The Indian rhinos i also saw in Canada are breeding very well and are also thriving.

    Another example is the huge Gorilla group in the Howetts zoo in the UK they have almost 80 there and have bred over 100 babies aand have released 9 of them back into the wild, these animals and not only breeding well they are thriving, all their warm weather species look so heathy, I can say this because i have BEEN there and SEEN it, and if anyone doubts what i am saying then go and see for your self, I do get just a little tierd of the expert arm chair critics who make statements when they have not seen some of these things for themselves.
     
  9. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    cold climate zoos.....

    firstly, this isn't a debate i wanted to get started - i said the focus should be on cold tolerant species. not northern zoos can't keep tropical species at all.

    ideally, zoo animals shouldn't be kept indoors all the time. to build a indoor habitat large enough for many species is very expensive and usually space is compromised. exception to this would be places like the "lied jungle" at the henry doorly zoo in omaha.

    regardless of that though, it makes sense that a zoo with severe winters would keep as many animals that can withstand the conditions as possible. at let me remind you that there is no shortage of "exotic" species that originate in this type of environment. (think of all the primates, pandas, ungulates, bears and big cats that come from the mountains of china and the himalaya!).

    in addition to this there are many more species who although not originating from a cold climate - cope very well with one. lions and cheetah are a good example. probably because both these cats once roamed much more temperate environments than they do today...

    for the record - i agree with you that there is no reason why northern zoos can't keep tropical animals should they be able to provide for them. small animals in particular pose no problem whatsoever..

    however, i just don't believe that an elephant kept indoors all winter is having its behavioural needs provided for. regardless of how physically healthy it is.

    and if i was a gorilla - be damned if i wouldn't get bored shitless locked indoors, even with a "jungle gym"...

    i'm not saying that all northern zoos keep their elephants indoors all winter either- the UK for example has a relatively mild climate in comparison to mainland europe at the same latitude. and i'm not saying all northern zoos make a priority of keeping tropical species either (look at the good logic behind zoo montana). but just as i don't want to see any more polar bears exhibits appear in australia - i don't want to see edinburgh zoo importing elephants from africa...

    and for the record - i have been to europe and america. i have been to zoos in cold climates. and at those zoos i have seen animals, like chimpanzees and elephants, that looked bloody miserable.

    the bactrian camels, wolves and tigers however seemed very comfortable.

    i'm not an armchair critic mark, i too have seen stuff for myself.
     
  10. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    cold climate zoos

    i have not yet been to see zoos in north america, where in some cases the emphasis on indoor immersion style exhibits like omaha's lied jungle is reported to compromise animal welfare, so i cant speak about them.
    what i can say is that of the european zoos i saw, in the winter too and including amsterdam, the tropical animals all seemed physically and mentally healthy and were outdoors. at artis zoo, in holland the temperature was 3 degrees the day i visited last october and yet animals ranging from inca terns and cassowary to asian elephant and gorillas were having a great time outside.
    possibly the most important thing is that the animals have a choice of environments-london zoo's primates, cats, birds, hoofed stock etc all have year rund access to outside enclosures-european zoos are also designed to be 'year-round', all-weather places to visit for people too.
    finally, can i just ask that everyone respects each other's opinions. lets be grateful for the input of people from overseas and for one last thing...
    for those who speak english as a first language could we please try and spell our words correctly as much as possible, making it muc easier to understand what we are saying to eachother.
     
  11. MARK

    MARK Well-Known Member

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    I agree 100% with what you have said here Glyn many of these Tropical animals kept in these zoos in Europe do just fine, I have seen Tropical animal species playing in the snow that are in prime heath and have a breeding record second to none, it all comes down to "zoo management" this is a big factor in how many of these animals fair. A case in point is the African lion safari in Canada who have one of the largest Asian Elephant herds in North America they have an outstanding breeding record with them having bred 9 baby Elephants since 1991 all of them are still living ( 100% success rate )and indeed one on the female born there having been bred into a second generation, this is an outstanding record in any zoo any where in the world let alone one of the most northerly of zoos. I with you Glyn I am also calling on everyone to show more respect for other peoples opinion and lets leave the name calling to the childen.
     
  12. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    and then this.....

    ummm, who exactly here is not respecting other peoples opinions and name calling mark?
     
  13. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    a life indoors....

    well as predicted this thread created quite a passionate response from some people.

    yes, yes, many animals do do just fine. personally i have no objection to temperate zoos or them keeping tropical animals per se (i feel i may need to crarify that just one more time).

    my feelings are though that zoos should try to focus on conservation issues that relate better to their immediate surrounds. i believe that in doing this a zoo might be more persuasive in getting someone to become more interested in a conservation initiave if the project is more localised and something the visitor can relate better to.

    of course people go to zoos to see exotic animals though, and just as us australians don't exactly run straight to the koala exhibit i doubt a canadian would muster up a higher level of enthusiasm for a wolverine.

    still, if we can agree that generally speaking indoor exhibits are more costly, space compromised and of not quite as ideal as an outdoor one - it makes sense that a zoo keeps as many animals as possible that can cope with the outdoor weather.

    the situation is flipped exactly for zoos in tropical climates. i can't say that singapore zoo and australia's seaworld don't care for their polar bears properly - but a northern zoo will always have the upper hand in being able to potentially provide a better environment based purely on the weather.

    i believe their is a multitude of species that would be considered "exotic" to a northern european or american that originate from similar climates on another side of the globe.

    and again their are many species such as snow leopards and lions that are well adapted to both climates...

    but there are in some cases tropical species that i outright believe are being neglected severely in northern zoos. and i'll talk elephants and gorillas being kept indoors specifically since i feel i have made it very clear from the beginning that it was these types of animals in that type of situation in particular that i had an ojection to. likewise it was these types of animals that where used as examples in the preceeding arguments against my statements..

    if i was to utilise my own measure, based on my personal (and i believe educated) belief about what would consitute "providing" for an elephant - i would probably find that well over 90% of all the zoos in the world holding these animals would indeed be neglecting them in one way or another. i believe that not only do elephants need the enrichment of a large herd structure that many zoos still fail to provide, on top of this they need space something most zoos also are neglegent of.

    based on those beliefs i'm sure you can imagine how inadequate and grossly irresponsible i feel it is for a zoo to house an animal of this size, social complexity and intelect indoors for extended periods of time.

    and i am not alone. there are others, who unlike me are actually within the zoo commmunity, and feel that weather alone is a valid basis for a claim that many northern zoos are neglecting their elephants.

    likewise gorillas, chimpanzees and the other great apes have intelects equal to young children and no doubt are emotionally as developed as us. they get bored at the best of times in zoos. surely being indoors would rapidly decrease the amount of environmental stimuli they can benifit from.

    of course anyone else can feel differently, but i would like to make a request. since i feel it is safe to assume that this forum is made up of animals lovers, who no doubt respect that creatures other than ourselves feel emotions and such as depression and joy, i would like you to ask yourself this - would i be happy if i was locked inside my house over winter?
     
    Last edited: 9 May 2006
  14. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

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    Zoos in Belgium

    Hey Mephi ( and please dont get offended with me , just because I shorten your handle -- it is a sign of potential friendship within NZ )

    does Brussels have any zoo at all ?
    or any other towns/cities ( besides Antwerp ) ?

    just curious ......



    Nigel .
     
  15. ZYBen

    ZYBen Well-Known Member

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    I can half answer this,

    THere is another free range zoo, antwerp other facility, its great,
    I will post attatchment to the maps of it, thet m,ephi translated for me,

    its called Plandenackel i think thats how you spell it

    edit, am having trouble attatching, i will upload them somewhere
     
  16. Mephistopheles

    Mephistopheles Member

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    No problem at all ,Nigel. I know that about the shortening, I met iothers of your country before.
    I'm not offended ,I even think it's good you shorten my name. If you want, all you guys can name me Kevin (my real front name) too.

    Brussels zoo closed many years ago ,in 1879 already. Brussels started another zoo after the first world war ,but the plan never got far and it died in the second world war.

    Zoos in Belgium as of today , source: isis

    Mnemonic Institution Address City Province Country
    OLMENSE Olmense Zoo Bukenberg 45 2491 Olmen-Balen Antwerp province Belgium
    ANTWERP Zoo of Antwerp Royal Zool.Society of Antwerp Queen Astrid Square 26 Antwerp province Antwerp Belgium
    AYWAILLE Monde Sauvage Safari SPRL Website Fange de Deigne 3 B-4920 Liège province Aywaille Belgium
    TOURNAI Musee d'Histoire Naturelle De Tournai Website Cour d'Honneur l'Hotel de Ville B-7500 Tournai Belgium
    CAMBRON Parc Paradisio S.A. de Domaine de Cambron 1 Cambron-Casteau Belgium
    IEPER Bellewaerde Park Meenseweg 497 Jeper, Zillebake Jeper Belgium
    PLANCKNDL Wild Animal Park Mechelen Planckendael Website Royal Zool. Society of Antwerp Leuvensesteenweg 582 Mechelen (Muizen) Belgium

    That's all I know off. oh wait, there's teh aquarium aquatopia in Antwerp ,and the aquarium in Liège (city).


    Curiosity and variaty are the spices of life.
     
  17. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't Antwerp zoo have an excellent collection of Curassows and Asian fireback pheasants. They seem to breed them well too.
     
  18. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Shouldn't you be 'WrEAthedHornbill' rather than WrithedHornbill ?
     
  19. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    Well there is a wreathed hornbill but I prefer the Mindanao Writhed hornbill. They have it at Chester Zoo. The only pair in Captivity.
     
  20. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    fair enough. Can you pinpoint which zoo the current Indian rhino male came from. Also any news on the Cheser Spectacled Bears. I heard they have exchanged one of the two males for a female. Correct? Do you now where the female came from, or where the male went to?
     
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