Join our zoo community

Congo Gorilla Forest - a ShonenJake13 take

Discussion in 'Speculative Zoo Design and Planning' started by ShonenJake13, 2 Oct 2016.

  1. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

    18 Mar 2014
    So in living memory I have visited New York twice, both over the past five years or so. During both visits I went to Central Park Zoo and Bronx Zoo. Each time, Bronx Zoo has astounded me with its diversity, size and ingenuity. I truly place it as one of my top five zoos that I have visited worldwide, together with La Vallée des Singes, Chester, Apenheul and Burgers' Zoo.
    When I visited the zoo, one of my favourite exhibits (obviously, looking at my interests on my profile) was the Congo Gorilla Forest. Its size, its creativity with exhibit design and species inventory and the impression it gave to most visitors, made it my favourite gorilla exhibit I've ever seen.

    So, I decided to make my own version of it.

    The gorilla groups I best know (outside of the groups at VdS, Twycross and London) are the (eight at the time of writing) Dutch gorilla groups. To remind everyone of who make up the groups (at this time), here we go:

    Apenheul group (5.9) = Jambo Mapasa Wimbé M'Zungu Jabari, Mintha Mandji Kisiwa Nemsi Gyasi M'Fugaji Iriki Tayari Chama

    Burgers' Zoo group (5.7) = Bauwi Nakou Nukta N'Kato Madiba, N'Gayla Nimba Makoua N'Aika N'Washi N'Hasa N'Irale

    Blijdorp group (4.5) = Bokito Nasibu Aybo Thabo, Annette Tamani Aya Ayba Tonka

    GaiaZOO group (3.6) = Makula Loango Mosi, Dalila Tamidol Sangha Ayo Zola Nala

    Artis group (5.3) = Akili Bembosi Shambe Douli Shae, Shindy Dafina Binti

    Ouwehands group (6.0) = Bitono Jah Bitanu Popa Baloo Imbizo

    Beekse Bergen bachelor group (4.0) = Uzuri M'Bewe Kidogo M'Kono

    Beekse Bergen mixed group (1.1) = Komale, Tuena

    I decided to use these eight groups as the groups that would live in said exhibit. So here is my idea for the exhibit :) hope you enjoy


    15 acre exhibit

    Features 80 different species from Central and West Africa. With a capacity to house 85 gorillas, there are four outdoor enclosures dedicated to gorillas which recreate their wild habitat with grass, trees, rocks and waterfalls. All of the enclosures are connected through gates to have the opportunity to rotate the gorillas. Off-exhibit spaces include four tall, skylighted community dayrooms, 16 interconnected shift spaces, four gorilla quarantine spaces and six outdoor gorilla holding cages.

    Species featured include:

    - Okapi (2)
    - Red duiker (2)
    - Crested guineafowl (4)

    - Tanzanian black-and-white colobus (4)

    - Red river hog (2)
    - Mandrill (7)
    - De Brazza's monkey (5)

    - Western lowland gorilla (8)
    - Meerkat (4)
    - Sykes' monkey (4)

    - Western lowland gorilla (14)
    - Patas monkey (2)
    - L'Hoest's monkey (2)
    - Collared mangabey (4)

    - Western lowland gorilla (12)
    - Golden-bellied mangabey (3)
    - Lowe's monkey (5)

    - Western lowland gorilla (4)
    - Black-and-white colobus (7)
    - Red-tailed monkey (3)

    - Western lowland gorilla (9)
    - Greater spot-nosed monkey (6)
    - Lesser spot-nosed monkey (3)

    - Western lowland gorilla (9)
    - Black crested mangabey (5)

    - Western lowland gorilla (6)
    - Diana monkey (2)

    - Western lowland gorilla (2)
    - King colobus (6)

    - Wolf's monkey (7)

    - Drill (5)

    - Northern talapoin (4)

    - Olive baboon (9)

    - Moustached monkey (4)

    - Allen's swamp monkey (3)

    - Tantalus monkey (7)

    - White-naped mangabey (7)

    - Potto (3)

    - Senegal bushbaby (5)

    - Bongo (4)
    - Red duiker (3)

    - Blue duiker (2)
    - Pygmy hippo (2)

    - Giant forest hog (5)
    - Yellow-backed duiker (2)

    - Western tree hyrax (3)

    - African manatee (2)
    - Giraffe catfish (1)
    - African arowana (7)

    - African forest elephant (9)

    - Bushbuck (3)
    - African forest buffalo (3)

    - Spotted-necked otter (3)

    - Crested genet (2)

    - African civet (3)

    - Black-and-white casqued hornbill (2)

    - African pygmy goose (2)
    - Green wood hoopoe (2)
    - Congo peafowl (2)
    - White-crested hornbill (2)
    - Black crake (2)
    - Great blue turaco (2)
    - Emerald starling (4)
    - Tambourine dove (2)
    - Hottentot teal (2)
    - Black-winged stilt (2)
    - Peach-faced lovebird (4)

    - Black-casqued hornbill (2)

    - White-necked rockfowl (2)

    - African fish eagle (2)

    - Pel's fishing owl (2)

    - African grey parrot (2)

    - Shoebill (2)
    - Hamerkop (2)

    - African rock python (1)

    - Nile monitor (1)

    - Black mud terrapin (3)

    - Congo tetra (34)
    - Giant freshwater puffer (1)
    - Jewel cichlid (11)

    - Dwarf crocodile (2)
    - Congo tetra (29)

    - Slender-snouted crocodile (2)
    - Jewel cichlid (24)

    - Desert crocodile (2)
    - Congo tetra (21)

    - Goliath frog (3)

    - Tigerfish (7)

    - Goliath beetle (3)

    - Giant millipede (4)

    - Emperor scorpion (6)

    The exhibit begins with the entrance, a great vine-entwined arch resembling the entrance to a forest grove. At the beginning there is a sign describing the habitat of the gorilla and its basic taxonomy/behaviour.

    As you continue along the path (built to resemble a grove-like tunnel) you reach an enclosure on the left home to okapis, red duikers and crested guineafowl. This exhibit is only 40% onshow, allowing privacy for the animals. Most of the exhibit windows throughout the exhibit have a low or slight covering of undergrowth to help hide the public from the animals.

    Continuing on you reach a large enclosure home to Tanzanian black-and-white colobus, designed to give them the height they need. Just further along and to the left is the tree hyrax habitat. Round the bend there is an enclosure home to red river hogs, mandrills and De Brazza's monkeys. Generally these species are rotated though they can be in in pairs or all three at the same time.

    It is then that you reach the Long House: a long area with panoramic windows looking into part of one of the four outdoor gorilla enclosures. Each of the eight groups lives with at least one other species, so if the gorillas aren't visible but another species is you can tell which group has been moved into that enclosure by which species is on exhibit. If it's meerkats and/or Sykes' monkeys it's Akili's, if it's patas monkeys and/or collared mangabeys and/or L'Hoest's monkeys it's Jambo's, if it's golden-bellied mangabeys and/or Lowe's monkeys it's Bauwi's, black-and-white colobus and/or red-tailed monkeys means it's Uzuri's, greater spot-nosed monkeys and/or lesser spot-nosed monkeys means it's Bokito's, king colobus means it's Komale's, black crested mangabeys means it's Makula's and Diana monkeys means it's Bitono's. Again only 50% of the enclosure is onshow, allowing privacy for the gorilla troop and their co-inhabitants.

    At the end of the Long House the first indoor area is reached. Here indoor areas can be seen such as the terrariums home to the goliath frogs, African rock python, giant millipedes and goliath beetles. There is a centrepiece talking about the rainforests of Africa and describing biodiversity. There is also a door leading into the nocturnal area, a circular route taking the visitor round past emperor scorpions, crested genets, Senegal bushbabies, pottos, Pel's fishing owls and African civets.

    Once back in the indoor area, another grove-like path leads you into the riverine habitat, starting off with the slender-snouted crocodile enclosure. Their pool is home to jewel cichlids. Next door is a semi-aquatic terrarium home to black mud terrapins, followed by an enclosure housing Allen's swamp monkeys. Further along is a long corridor with a riverine aviary on the left and a riverine enclosure on the right. The enclosure houses spotted-necked otters, and the aviary has been divided in two, with one half housing white-necked rockfowl and the other housing shoebills and hamerkops. Further along there is a large open-air paddock home to pygmy hippos and blue duikers on the left, and a large open-air aviary for African fish eagles on the right.

    The corridor then continues back inside past a tank housing Congo tetras, a giant freshwater puffer and jewel cichlids, reaching a large and shady indoor space with three large enclosures. Two are tanks, housing tigerfish in one, and African manatees, a giraffe catfish and African arowanas in the other. The other is semi-aquatic and houses desert crocodiles and Congo tetras. Following on from this space is another educational piece describing the aquatic wildlife and habitats of Africa.

    Past here is another gorilla outdoor enclosure, with a viewing theatre that can be used during gorilla feeding presentations. 80% of this outdoor area is onshow. Next is the Earth Tunnel, an actual tunnel made of a synthetic material that looks and feels like dried earth. There are long panels of one way glass in the walls to allow outdoor views into the feeding gorilla outdoor area, an enclosure for giant forest hogs and yellow-backed duiker (40% onshow) and another outdoor gorilla enclosure (20% onshow). The fourth gorilla outdoor enclosure connects the 80% and 20% enclosures, and is completely offshow. At the end of the earth tunnel is one of four indoor gorilla areas, two of which are visible. This one is 30% onshow.

    Next is a 3.5 acre paddock home to the forest elephants. Most of the paddock is densely forested, leaving only half an acre of clear area. Through a grove of bamboo and eucalyptus there is an outdoor enclosure home to olive baboons, a large enclosure home to drills, a paddock housing bongos and red duikers and an aviary home to black-casqued hornbills.

    Heading back indoors you are met with another room, talking about the threats to rainforest-dwelling animals. Within this space there is an enclosure housing a Nile monitor, an aviary home to African grey parrots and an indoor area home to Wolf's monkeys (their outdoor area is offshow). In the next space there is a semi-aquatic exhibit home to dwarf crocodiles and Congo tetras.

    The next area is the Walkthrough; this is a large aviary with nesting opportunities, a water feature and dense foliage. Communal feeders are situated around the aviary. The enclosure houses African pygmy geese, Hottentot teals, green wood hoopoes, peach-faced lovebirds, black-winged stilts, Congo peafowl, white-crested hornbills, black crakes, great blue turacos, emerald starlings and tambourine doves. Within the Walkthrough there is an indoor enclosure for the drills and olive baboons, as well as indoor areas for moustached monkeys and white-naped mangabeys (their outdoor areas are also offshow). There is also another gorilla indoor area (this one being 60% onshow).

    Finally, there are four outdoor enclosures; one for northern talapoins, one for tantalus monkeys (both species have offshow indoor areas), as well as an aviary for black-and-white casqued hornbills and a paddock home to bushbuck and red buffalo.
    The exit is an indoor area with activities to help children see if they learned anything from the exhibit and offering the public the option to donate money to different rainforest and animal survival plans.
    Last edited: 3 Oct 2016
  2. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

    23 Jan 2008
    New York, USA
    Out of curiosity, how large is this place?!?!?!
    Also, 9 elephants in 1.5 acres will be a barren wasteland
  3. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

    18 Mar 2014
    15 acres in total, counting all other exhibit space and public space, as well as the gorilla habitats.

    And I wrote in an old version! Should've been a 3.5 acre enclosure, my bad.
  4. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

    18 Mar 2014
    I've edited it now :)
  5. Loxodonta Cobra

    Loxodonta Cobra Well-Known Member

    1 Aug 2015
    West Hartford, CT, USA
    Why are meerkats, a species that has nothing to do with rainforests, mixed with gorillas let alone in a Congo exhibit?
  6. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

    23 Jan 2008
    New York, USA
    So they can aerate the soil?
  7. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

    18 Mar 2014
    This is me copying what the Amsterdam zoo have done with their gorilla group; they live with meerkats and white-throated monkeys.
  8. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

    18 Aug 2008
    everywhere and nowhere
    Using Meerkats in a rotation-enclosure system will not work as the burrow takes a very central position in their behaviour, so it would only work if you have a set place for them to burrow and then only let them use the outdoor exhibits during the day, while having access to their burrow at all time (so you would need to make sure that all outdoor exhibits have easy access to the Meerkats burrow).
  9. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

    18 Mar 2014
    Good point. I will see what I can work out.
  10. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

    18 Mar 2014
    Found the solution. I would swap the meerkats with the drills, so have the drills in with the Sykes' monkeys and Akili's group, and the meerkats with an outdoor enclosure near the olive baboons and an indoor enclosure inside the Walkthrough.