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Chester Zoo's Islands and future investment in UK zoos

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Panthera1981, 11 Jul 2015.

  1. Panthera1981

    Panthera1981 Well-Known Member

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    Hello All!

    With the opening of Islands at Chester Zoo I'd like to pose the following:

    Does this investment now set a precident that other UK collections could, or should, follow? The money involved makes me wonder what certain collections could do, or is Chester simply a unique example?
     
  2. giant_anteater

    giant_anteater Well-Known Member

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    I do hope other collections follow. I would love to see what some of the larger UK zoos like Whipsnade and YWP would do with such an investment.
     
  3. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Not surprised Chester were first with this concept though- they have traditionally always been groundbreakers, from barless enclosures, water-moated Ape islands, Tropical House etc and they still have a dynamic other UK zoos have always seemed to lack somehow. But yes, it would be good to see others follow suit in time.
     
  4. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Heavy investment in world-class exhibits can transform a zoo in many ways and then spur a growth in quality throughout the grounds. Establishments like Minnesota Zoo and Leipzig Zoo spent enormous sums of money on grandiose new exhibits in the past decade and attendance zoomed upwards in both cases. I think that Minnesota Zoo had something like a 40% attendance increase after several smaller exhibit complexes and then the debut of Russia's Grizzly Coast in 2008. Leipzig has also reinvented itself over the past 15 years and attendance has dramatically increased. Now it will be interesting to see if a smaller British zoo can obtain the funding to open a state-of-the-art complex similar to Islands; an amazing attendance increase would surely follow!
     
  5. jde7582

    jde7582 Well-Known Member

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    I guess the hard part for attractions is too convince a bank to hand out loans under the guarantee of increased visitor numbers and income, but if Chester works, they can use that as a good example.

    I wonder if Islands is a very big success (having viewed it myself, even with no animals in it, I very sure it will be) how soon Chester will announce there next big project? With having so much land around the zoo, they can build large projects with little or no disruption to visitors, as with Islands.
     
  6. banham.tiger

    banham.tiger Well-Known Member

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    I would like Chester to do something with its lions!

    Are there any plans for a new lion enclosure?
     
  7. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Its a bit odd their enclosure has stayed virtually unchanged ever since I can remember. Its functional but very ordinary.
     
  8. SMR

    SMR Well-Known Member

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    OT but, the lion enclosure has only changed since inception in that the raised viewing was removed and the dens relocated. It has always been a highly successful enclosure however, more so than the second enclosure, which was once located approximately where the Philippine spotted deer are now.
     
  9. SHAVINGTONZOO

    SHAVINGTONZOO Well-Known Member

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    Personally I'm not really keen on the "immersive" style of exhibit - lots of space taken, lots of money spent, and relatively few animals to be seen. Or not seen in all that planting.
     
  10. taun

    taun Well-Known Member

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    I doubt it, it has been a disaster, I came away underwhelmed.

    Sure you could see the scale and potentially but one animal on display is shocking.

    Only seemed to be one set of toilets open and they were tiny.

    Shocking really I expect better from what I consider the best zoo in the uk.
     
  11. Maguari

    Maguari Never could get the hang of Thursdays. Premium Member

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    All of this relates only to the preview though - possibly the first week or so of opening, but not the exhibit long-term. They haven't spent all this money to get some members through on a mid-July weekend. I don't really think it can be written off as a 'disaster' because they weren't fully (or even mostly) up and running for the preview.

    The lack of toilets in Islands was pointed out to everyone with preview tickets at the ticket barrier at the main entrance to the zoo on Saturday, to allow people to factor it in while they were still close to the facilities!
     
  12. taun

    taun Well-Known Member

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    Maybe not, but you have to look at the first impression the paying public will get on Monday....I doubt many will be as patience as the members here. Bad publicity can cause a bit of a headache for the zoo and put people of from returning.

    Glad they have released a statement about the lack of animals but a bit late in the day for it.

    Oh, we never got such a warning.

    I best stop, I was not happy with it all and I wish I had not gone and waited until it was all done.
     
  13. Maguari

    Maguari Never could get the hang of Thursdays. Premium Member

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    I agree - it will be interesting to see what response they get - but I think that with tigers and orangs still on show elsewhere, once a few more of the other animals are in around the boat ride in a couple of weeks this will cease to be an issue. For the meantime, they'll just have to ride it out with cheery friendliness and optimism - which they were doing a very good job of on Saturday.
     
  14. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    Will Islands draw in more visitors this summer? Perhaps not. Will it draw in more during the winter? Possibly. We may not be sure until this time next year.
    However I think Islands will be a big draw in the long run. I think it will raise the stakes in the UK zoo game.
    How will other British zoos react? More publicity, because it's cheap. More investment, if they can afford it - although I don't think any other zoo can afford to match Chester's investment unless they can persuade an eccentric billionaire to make a donation.

    Alan
     
  15. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

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    I heard quite a few very angry members today,moaning about the fact that so few exhibits had anything in,to the length of the que to the boat ride,but the biggest moan was the fact that not all of it was on-show!

    I think the potential of the exhibit is superb and when its all open it will be among the big boys in Europe,but they would have been better off not opening until it was all 100% complete,but thats what happens when pressure from sources within that do not understand the problems of running a zoo,can force a date for opening when the best idea would be to say,we are running late it opens when it opens!!
     
  16. ChesterZooFan

    ChesterZooFan Well-Known Member

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    The zoo are predicting an increase in visitor numbers of approx 10% (from 1.5m to 1.65m)

    I think this is seen as a conservative estimation, and they are hoping for even bigger numbers. Once the opening issues have calmed down I think they will achieve this and more. They have already made statements about the next projects to be started after Islands....nothing confirmed but there is talk of carrying out lots of smaller renovations and upgrades of the existing zoo, before starting on "Heart of Africa" but I reckon we are years way from that...

    London is a good example of a smaller zoo investing in updating what became very outdated exhibits. Penguin Beach, Clore Rainforest, Tiger Territory, Pygmy Hippos, Lemur walk through and the Lion exhibit opening next year have at least kept it fresh even though these are much smaller scale than Islands.

    Yorkshire Wildlife Park and Chester are both lucky they have a huge expanse of land not currently used so they can expand with no disruption to the rest of the zoo.
     
  17. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    In the main, I would agree with you.
    Having been to Yorkshire Wildlife Park for the first time last month, I thought their Polar Bear, Tiger and lion exhibits, all relatively cheaply built, were excellent, for the visitor and the animals. To be good, an exhibit doesn't have to cost several £m!
    To answer the question, I hope that the building of Islands hasn't set a precedent. Not that I am not looking forward to seeing it, I just feel places like YWP or Whipsnade should continue with their own character and build new exhibits for new species in their own style- I would much rather see an inexpensive polar Bear exhibit at Whipsnade than a massive tropical dome!
    Also I think only Chester is in a position to do this because it has such a large collection to begin with, zoos with smaller collections of mammals e.g London, should concentrate on increasing the collection before building an expensive exhibit for a few (mainly) existing animals - as I have said elsewhere in my objection to the New lion development there.