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Best enclosure / exhibit design for lesser known smaller mammals.

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Onychorhynchus coronatus, 15 Nov 2020.

  1. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Small mammals often get a raw deal in both general conservation terms and zoos in comparison to large and "charismatic" megafauna. The impact of this bias is often reflected in the lacklustre way that small taxa are exhibited to the public at many zoos.

    However, there are also many positive examples out there of zoos which house endangered small mammals and manage to integrate both enclosures with excellent husbandry whilst also providing innovative educational displays and content for the public.

    The purpose of this thread is for zoochatters to highlight, discuss and compare the way that zoos display / showcase the smaller lesser known mammals of conservation concern taking into consideration these factors :

    * Enclosure design - Husbandry / needs of animal , enrichment, general aesthetics.

    * Educational value - Information signs, interactive displays (audio-visual etc), environmental education / conservation related talks.

    What are some examples of the best enclosure / exhibit design that you have seen at a zoo for an endangered small mammal species ?
     
    Last edited: 15 Nov 2020
  2. Julio C Castro

    Julio C Castro Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    What the size limit for a small mammal in context to the question? Meaning typical rodent sized or a bit bigger? Because I have one that I’d consider really well done which is the Matschies Tree Kangaroo exhibit at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It fits the tree kangaroos so well and even though they’re shy when I’ve visited, they are immersed in their home and seems to replicate their environment. It’s densely planted, supplied with misters and shade from the sun, top view providing a panoramic view of them even if taking a nap :D the signage talks about how their natural homes are impacted along with the recurring theme in Walkabout Australia. Also just a wonderful spot to take a break and also admire the cassowaries next door :rolleyes:
     
  3. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    To clarify what I mean by the term small mammals I would define them quite broadly as the following:

    Rodents

    Bats

    Shrews / moles

    Solenodons

    Smaller primates (lemurs, prosimians, old and new world monkeys)

    Small marsupials

    Tree shrews

    Tenrecs

    Hedgehogs

    Small xenartha (anteater, sloth and armadillo)

    Mustelids

    Euplerids

    Small cats

    Small canids

    Some smaller hoofstock (duiker, mouse deer, muntjack etc)
     
    Last edited: 15 Nov 2020
  4. Julio C Castro

    Julio C Castro Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Aw my bad, I will go through my photos to look one up fitting any of those catagories :oops:
     
  5. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    No, I would say Matschies Tree Kangaroo certainly fits.

    It is a smallish marsupial afterall and a lesser known species at that.

    The enclosure sounds really very good from what you have written.

    Do you have any photos of the enclosure ?
     
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  6. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Newquay Zoo had (and probably still has) a really pretty little exhibit for Harvest Mice.
     
  7. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    This species makes for quite an engaging display at zoos doesn't it ?

    I mean they are very active in exploring their enclosures, quite cute and in terms of Newquay / UK are also a native species that has gone through a population decline.
     
  8. CheeseChameleon2007

    CheeseChameleon2007 Well-Known Member

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    I like the small-mammal nocturnal exhibits in Omaha Henry doorly zoos kingdoms of the night. Always fascinated me as a kid, when I saw a potto being fed.
     
  9. Julio C Castro

    Julio C Castro Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I’ll upload a photo now to the SDZ Safari Park gallery and post it on here, it won’t let me directly upload to the thread :mad:
     
  10. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Sounds interesting @CheeseChameleon2007.

    What species are kept there as part of this exhibit apart from the potto?
     
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  11. CheeseChameleon2007

    CheeseChameleon2007 Well-Known Member

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    Aardvark, Greater bushbaby, Potto, and I believe maybe one more species, I forgot.
     
  12. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    So a nice selection of African nocturnal animals, I like that there is consistency with the biogeographic theming of the exhibit.

    Are the educational displays good too ?
     
  13. Julio C Castro

    Julio C Castro Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  14. CheeseChameleon2007

    CheeseChameleon2007 Well-Known Member

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    There are some around the exhibit, but its all dark around you so only a few signs. I mostly learned all of my knowledge "Big book of mammals" at home. I learned about all the nocturnal animals in Africa that I had books of before I went when I was younger with my grandparents.
     
  15. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Wow, that does indeed look like a great enclosure and I can see what you mean by how densely planted it is with all that foilage.

    Thanks for sharing !

    What are the information / educational displays like ?

    Do you think that the exhibit design makes the animal more interesting or engaging for the public ?
     
  16. Julio C Castro

    Julio C Castro Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I agree, it’s one on my favorite exhibits belonging to a whole complex! It certainly makes it much more interesting despite the tree kangaroos being in nap mode most of the day :oops: I’ll try to find a photo of the signage, I’m sure I got one in my camera roll :)
     
  17. twilighter

    twilighter Well-Known Member

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    Nurnberg has some outstanding exhibits for small carnivores, like Yellow- throated Marten, Fishing cat and Saharan Striped Weasel. The Dessert House itself featuring among others Fat Sand Rat is also fantastic exhibit. Worth to mention the Rat House in Vienna with only two enclosures for Northern Luzon Cloud Rats and Gambian Giant Pouched Rats - brilliant small mammals display.
     
    Last edited: 15 Nov 2020
  18. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Axe Valley have more or less replicated that exhibit, but it’s outside under cover rather than indoors.
     
  19. Julio C Castro

    Julio C Castro Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    this is the main sign for the exhibit as you go up to the view point from the last photo I showed you. Most of the signs are simple but just enough information for regular zoo visitors to grasp onto, it’s amazing how small nuggets of knowledge stick to some people. You definitely should visit one day if you can, the SDZ safari park is one fine zoological institution!
     
  20. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I agree the signs are pretty succinct and to the point, but you are right as it is this information that will stick in visitors minds.

    Personally I always prefer the more traditional signs aesthetically but there is no faulting signs like this when it comes to educating visitors about conservation.

    So it looks from the picture that there is an overview of the threats that tree kangaroos face in Papua New Guinea from agricultural land conversion, bushmeat and wildfires.

    The sign below this one has information about what San Diego zoo are doing in terms of ex-situ and in-situ work and then you have the sign below this one with information about the species (which interestingly isn't as big as the others and less information).
     
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