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Dudley Zoological Gardens Dudley Wishlist/Ideas for the Future

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by FunkyGibbon, 24 Nov 2015.

  1. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    I came up with this for here, http://www.zoochat.com/22/changes-you-would-make-your-zoo-274074/, but I think the problem with that thread is that people who actually know the specific collections aren't necessarily reading it so it isn't sparking much debate. Hopefully Dudley regulars will find this interesting, or disagree vehemently with me.

    When I was thinking about how I would like Dudley to change I thought about its strengths and its weaknesses.
    The weaknesses are a number of poor enclosures, as well as a few fairly uninspiring ones. Also a lack of cash to spend on improvements!
    The strengths are a great setting, a unique variety of historic buildings, and more recently an innovative approach to building low cost enclosures.
    I indulged myself and kept species around that I think of as linked to Dudley. Dudley will never be immersive or fully geographically zoned, but I did try to create blocks of exhibits from the same area.

    Here are the changes I would like to see Dudley make:
    (Bold is for a major, expensive development)


    Build a new Snow Leopard enclosure on the hillside on the other side of the chair-lift to the Geladas.An indoor holding and viewing tower replaces the toilet block at the bottom of the hill (but still provides toilet facilities).

    When Inca dies adapt the old polar bear pit for Binturong and Prevost's Squirrell. Add lots of planting there and to the macaques adjacent.

    Adapt the Snow Leopard cage for Javan Langurs.


    Build an aviary over the old Arabian Gazalle paddock and plant it thoroughly. Stock it with some African forest birds, and Red or Blue Duikers.

    Return Bush Dogs to the old hyena enclosure. They were great. The wallabies and mara can be put into the kangaroo and tapir exhibits respectively.

    Expand the old Cassowary enclosure backwards, and return Cassowaries.


    Adapt the old Elephant House for Babirusa and add a new group there, replacing the Wallaby Walkthrough.

    New Orangutan exhibit at the other end of the Chimpanzee paddock, using some of their outdoor area and some of the space beyond it. Two outdoor enclosures plus tall indoor holding. At the same time add proper containment and males to the Chimps and build a rotational exhibit in the woodland opposite for both species.


    Demolish
    the old Ape House, and build a South American Glasshouse. A large walkthough indoor aviary with separate indoor holding for the Spider Monkeys and new Tamanduas. Build outdoor enclosures going up the slope towards the gibbons for both mammal species.

    Add sloths to Monkey Tails.

    Add Japanese Macaques to the old Spider Monkey enclosure. Build a heated outdoor pool for occasional use.

    Send
    bachelor Geladas to another collection. Extend paddock up to walls of the Sensory Garden. Build a stable and add Takin.


    Build two Asiatic Black Bear enclosures on wooded hillside overlooking old Bear Ravine. One Enclosure includes existing Tecton infrastructure and the end of the flat paddock. Indoor holding is part of Yak stable.
    Build large stable building at the end of the Bear Ravine paddock nearest the entrance. Add Yak to the now smaller paddock.

    Remove "fun"fair and replace it with a new Parrot Complex.


    Last but not least, replace the ASCOs with Spot-necked Otters!


    Any thoughts? What would other people like to see?
     
    Last edited: 24 Nov 2015
  2. Nisha

    Nisha Well-Known Member

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    The problem with Babirusia would be getting them again... the few that are being born in Europe are currently being prioritized for existing holders
     
  3. lamna

    lamna Well-Known Member

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    Nice ideas, probably a little ambitious but not wild, pointless day dreaming.

    I do disagree strongly with one though, moving the bachelor group of geladas. If you want to maintain breeding groups of animals, the responsible thing to do is to also take care of surplus too. Sure, I would love to have more species, but those animals have to go somewhere.

    Aside from sourcing issues, I don't think the old elephant house would be good for babirusa. It's flipping cold and windy up there, and babirusa have very short hair. I'm no expert but I imagine they'd be spending most of their time indoors.

    Snow Leopard Slope is a good idea, but while the terrain would not be a challenge for them, would they be comfortable with so little flat ground? It would probably be fine but I'd like to know. Plus, there are lots of nice old trees there that would probably have to go to make the place secure, which would be a bit of a shame.

    I may have asked this before and forgotten, but does the zoo actually own the rest of the hill? The 2/3's of it that is covered in forest? It's often talked about as if it is, but I don't actually know.
     
  4. Jackwow

    Jackwow Well-Known Member

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    Why don't you just send your list to Dudley and see what they say? Nothing I expect! Seriously, what is the point of a totally hypothetical thread like this?!
     
  5. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fun
     
  6. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    Nisha, I had seen something on here about Babirusa struggling in Europe. I assume there are no imports on the horizon? Such an interesting species.

    I can't argue with this in principle, and especially when an animal is endangered I enjoy seeing multiple enclosures and institutional commitment, but if Dudley could find another collection to take them, then that wouldn't be irresponisible. There aren't that many holders in Europe and the males especially are an attractive and potentially compelling exhibit.

    Very good point. I think the enclosure needs a 'standout' species because of its location at the top of the chair lift, as well as the history of the Elephant House. By modern standards I think it's a little on the small side for most large ungulates, maybe a species that is naturally solitary would be ok.

    There would need to be a little landscaping done to create some artificial scree and 'perching' points. I don't know about the flat ground either, but how much of that do they actually have in their current enclosure? (which I think is fine by the way)
    If you look at Google Earth I think there is enough room if you put the fence at the treeline. There are two or three solitary trees that could probably be left up inside the enclosure.

    Thanks for your thoughts Lamna :)
     
    Last edited: 25 Nov 2015
  7. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    I have three suggestions for the short, medium and long terms.
    First, modernise the rather plain waterfowl pool in the moat, before the penguins. Add a net to change it into an aviary, perhaps even a walk-through, and move in the ibises and some of the other birds from the aviaries by the otters, so that they can be renovated and replanted.
    Second, please build a new orang house, whether on the current site or the one suggested above or somewhere else entirely, giving the orangs more space and stimulation indoors and out.
    Third, develop a strategy. Dudley has always been a very general collection, which hasn't really made the most of its unique site. If a new development for snow leopards is considered, why not incorporate it into a Himalayan area with pheasants, macaques and even blue sheep - even if you have to build it in stages. As the collection is strong in reptiles and lemurs, reinforce those strengths by extending the Reptile House or building accommodation for mouse lemurs and (dare I say it?) gentle lemurs.

    Alan
     
  8. Benosaurus

    Benosaurus Well-Known Member

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    OK I'll play along. This is roughly what I'd like to see...

    -Bulldoze farmyard. Replace with peccaries. Keep the barn. Bulldoze area behind barn and merge with camel enclosure.

    -Lose the playground next to camels and merge with camel enclosure.

    -Lose fairground. Build large exhibit for capuchins and/or howler monkeys.

    -The waterfowl area: Use as additional space for sea lions (highly unlikely) or use for flamingos.

    -Fill in flamingo pool and merge with spider monkeys or turn it into a large aviary.

    -I like the idea of snow leopard slope a great deal. However, they could double the size of current exhibit by extending towards the kookaburras as a cheap option.

    -Use area left of the chairlift for Sulawesi macaques or bring in colobus.

    -Merge old polar bear tecton with tecton on the right by cutting into the dividing wall (don't argue with me, they cut into the tecton on the left to create the tiger viewing window). Extend right hand tecton up the slope (rear wall isn't tecton, so not protected). Use for sun bears.

    -Extend tiger exhibit into old bush dog enclosure. How? By continuing the tunnel from the viewing area under the path to create access. Cage extension over to prevent escape. It could also be useful as a separation area.

    -Build a new giraffe house 25-50m behind the old one. Knock down old house and extend paddock.

    -Wait till elderly kangaroos pass away. Merge former babirusa enclosure with former cassowary enclosure. Extend it slightly. Bring in giant anteater or okapi.

    -Maybe let the Barbary sheep have the Cameroon sheep enclosure as well as their old one.

    -You know the triple parrot aviaries next to the otters? Bulldoze them! Build a raised wooden walkway (similar to the one by the penguins/ reptile house) that gently slopes down the hill, through the woodland, around the back of the lemur walkthrough, and link it to the end of the path that runs alongside the chimps. This will allow people with pushchairs/ wheelchairs/ mobility scooters to return to the zoos lower level, safely, without doubling back on themselves. Build a wolf exhibit in the woodland on either side of the walkway.

    -Brick up the front of the orang 'pods'. Fill in the moat. Add viewing windows and a roof. Knock into the current indoor areas. This now becomes an enormous orang house. Turn the peccary enclosure and the African hunting dog enclosure into two huge outdoor orang areas. Problem solved.

    -Turn sensory garden into covered picnic area.

    -Turn wallaby walkthrough into Binturong or clouded leopard exhibit.

    -Bear ravine. Extend up hillside. Jags/ leopards/ wolverines etc. etc.. Build appropriate housing at the end if possible.

    -Phase out chimps. Extend house slightly, on the right, to create an L-shape. Keep outdoor area at 1 acre but make it more gorilla friendly. Keep a bachelor group of 3-4 gorillas.

    Phew! That's it from me. I'm off for a lie down. Let me know if you agree/disagree with any of the above :)
     
  9. adrian1963

    adrian1963 Well-Known Member

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    I wasn’t going to do this but have decided to join in.

    Here we go then firstly get rid of the awful funfair, then play ground and use the areas for a new Grizzly Bear enclosure (fairground) extend the enclosure right back to the path at the top , extend the Camel enclosure into the playground.

    Remove ALL the farmyard and use the area for Red Kangaroos, either refurbish or completely rebuild Monkey Tails and return it to a tropical walkthrough with new bird species.

    Halve the Chimpanzee outdoor area and turn the other half into the Orangutan Exhibit with the indoor area in the old camel enclosure (which you can still see the indoor enclosure to through the scrub) just after the chimp enclosure.

    There is 40 acres of land that 5 years ago was put up for sale to help fund new exhibits and refurbish old exhibits at the zoo but this was then ceased reasons unknown.
    So really the zoo does still have 40 acres to work with this is mainly woodland and is very steep at points which probably makes the area a little hard to work with.

    Now onto an area which nobody else as it’s the lion enclosure I think they should return the lions back to their old enclosure (African wild/painted dogs) and give the exhibit over to Sitatunga? They could then move the African Wild/Painted dogs into the old Bush dog enclosure.

    Now onto the triple tecton exhibits these imo would be great for small primate species, as there were plans a few years ago to turn them into a new Chimpanzee exhibit I can’t see why they should reopen the idea but for small primate species or even Howler one side and Capuchin exhibits the other side with indoor viewing via a tunnel from the old toilet block opposite the Snow leopard enclosure.

    As for the Old Parrot Aviaries I agree with knocking them down but replacing them with one large aviary containing a pair of toucan’s and golden or reeve’s pheasants.

    Now onto something no one else as mentioned as yet the area opposite the spider monkeys this area would be great for a Hen Harrier Aviary with hope of breeding have the aviary extending the whole way up to the drive and have it enclosed on a wooden outside with a few viewing holes in the wooden exterior.

    I agree with moving the giraffe house back and introduce a path around the back leading onto the path at the back of the chimps outdoor area we could also incorporate a path from the side of the new Toucan aviary on to the path thus again as said before giving people a chance to get back to the lower level without too much of a double back.

    Now onto the reptile house extend the building or replace the current one with a new building thus extending from the path to the current entrance but having it over 2 levels.

    Courtyard this would be a great area for a small collection of aviaries along the far wall containing endangered British species giving the public a sense of what problems exist in our own country.

    More to follow.
     
  10. lamna

    lamna Well-Known Member

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    It's just a bit of fun, and there is a chance people at DZG might read these.

    On the main Dudley thread moving the grey kangaroos once Nick the babirusa passed away and building a new playground by the entrance was something discussed before it actually happened.

    Chances are those were just obvious moves, but you never know.
    ---
    The howlers and capuchin seem to be doing well in their current exhibits, no rush with them (though the howler family keeps growing and growing) but it would be nice to see them with more space.

    Inca's current home and the snow leopard's would require minimal modification (though with the snow leopards you'd have to build them a new home). The current location of the roller-coaster would also be good, but that require building something from scratch, expensive and it might disturb the bats.

    The farmyard and the woodland are something I'd rather not be touched. Unlike the fair, the farm seems quite popular. It might not be the most exciting thing for zoo nerds (I'm a fan though), but it's doing it's job. The woods could be used, but it is a precious island of forest in the middle of the West Midlands, and it's home to badgers. I wouldn't want to lose that much of it.
    ---
    I prefer not to be too ambitious and talk about new animals, but if you're looking for interesting hoofstock for the elephant house then what about muskox?

    It being cold and exposed up there would be a good thing for them, they are fairly imposing while being actually quite compact, and it would create a theme with the reindeer.
     
  11. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    I thought about doing exactly this, but even though it would create extra space, it wouldn't be a very good kind of extra space. It would be another pool of roughly the same size, so there would be more choice, but no chance for swimming faster or further or deeper. Does the exhibit seem crowded with five sealions?

    Maybe the den area isn't original so they were able to cut into it. I can't imagine they would have been allowed if it was covered by the listing.

    This is the first really credible suggestion I have seen that involves keeping the House intact. Especially because it would be unrecognisable! Shame to lose the wild dogs though.

    The walkway around the back of the zoo is a great idea that would solve a key visitor issue at the zoo. It might open up more exhibit possibilities on unused land as well.


    This sounds like an excellent idea. The whole area around the entrance looking up the hill could be given over to it.

    I was literally thinking about this as a possibility yesterday after you pointed out the exposure issue. Maybe a small bachelor herd would be appropriate?
     
  12. canaryboy2

    canaryboy2 Active Member

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    Prophecy

    Sorry to say this, but about 2/3 years ago, I posted on a Twycross forum of a similar nature. I came up with the idea, totally randomly, that if I was chairman "I'd then put a walk-through butterfly exhibit in the white building by the pets corner. These are really enjoyable for all ages and are fairly cheap to create." Cue one year later Butterfly house next to pets corner.

    They either stole the idea or it's prophecy:p