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Dudley Zoological Gardens Dudley Zoological Gardens in 2018

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Benosaurus, 1 Jan 2018.

  1. Benosaurus

    Benosaurus Well-Known Member

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    Before the Dudley Zoological Gardens in 2018 thread gets underway, I thought I’d do another yearly summary, along with some personal grumblings, of the major goings-on at Dudley zoo in 2017.

    • The first thing the zoo announced, in what was to be an eventful 80th year, was a plan to reopen the grade II listed former Bird House Tecton (currently being used as the world’s most over-the-top lion shelter). The plan was to spend 50k to transform it into an indoor South American exhibit, which would include some nice new species; large hairy armadillos and sloths, as well as marmosets and tamarins.
    But then, out of the blue, some dithering heritage officials changed their minds, putting a halt on plans. Their excuse was that they’d prefer to develop a plan to “explore potential opportunities” for all the remaining unrestored Tectons on site, rather than just the Bird House Tecton. Surprise surprise, almost a year later, no such development plan has been released. What a waste. The zoo wants to use these buildings as they were more-or-less originally intended (but to modern animal welfare standards) and let the public enjoy them in their full glory, as I’m sure their creators would want. However, they are being held back by people who would rather see them remain as useless empty shells. Sad.​

    • The mystery of what the site of the former sensory garden would be used for was solved; a place to put a marquee for wedding receptions and other special events. Most of the time though it’s just a square of gravel, but still nicer to look at than that scruffy old pointless sensory garden ever was. The zoo recently announced some different plans for it in 2018.

    • A well-adjusted 5-year-old female black lemur, called Barbara, arrived from Spain. Barbara joined 10-year-old male Bryan in the lemur walkthrough. DZGs two other black lemurs, female Florence and male Kagani, left Dudley to join another collection. A few months later a female black lemur was born. It is the first black lemur to be born at DZG, the EEP studbook holders, since 2006.

    • A new look-out area, that would give uninterrupted views of the Asiatic lions, was set to be built on the undeveloped side of the enclosure. A nice idea. However, it never materialised.


    • As was proposed by the zoo last year, the old yellow-breasted capuchin enclosure had a £20k+ revamp. The old outdoor enclosure was demolished and a new enclosure, roughly twice the height and width, was built in its place. The well-built new enclosure includes glass viewing windows around the perimeter, as well as a new ‘bridge extension’ that goes over the path and leads to a new viewing area. The indoor area also doubled in size. This was done by incorporating the old adjacent black and white lemur house. The primates are very active and at home in there; using all the space and equipment. There have already been 2 capuchin births in the short time that the enclosure has been open, making it a total of 7 births since the zoo started caring for the species in 2011. The whole thing is a delight and a massive improvement. I hope any improvements to any of the other small primate enclosures in the future are carried out to a similar level of quality and scale.

    • The bush dogs are back. Three sisters moved into the old mara enclosure (where bush dogs have been held in the past). The mara moved in with the black howler monkeys in the right-hand enclosure of the triple Tecton complex. A mara with leucism was born. However, the mara have since moved back into the tapir enclosure. I suspect this is due to the arrival of some more Sulawesi crested macaques who have been temporarily placed with the howlers before they join the main group in the hillside enclosure.

    • Five male Azara’s agoutis, a new species for DZG, went into the enclosure with the large pool in the lorikeet walkthrough. I wish the enclosure was slightly bigger and I think it’s unlikely the agoutis will ever go for a swim in the pool with all the huge koi carp in there.

    • A new walk-in viewing area was built between the tapir and the new giant anteater enclosures. This is a welcome addition as visitors often found viewing the tapirs difficult.

    • Inca, the oldest Asiatic black bear in Europe (possibly the world), turned 37. She is no longer the only one of her species in the UK since the new arrivals at Wingham.


    • The second giant anteater enclosure was completed. It became home to DZG’s only giant anteater, female Romy. Taking up the entirety of the former babirusa enclosure, it includes a large new house with indoor viewing. Nicely landscaped, the outdoor area includes a 'burrow shelter', a pool, an artificial termite mound as well as plenty of grass, logs and shrubs. Really nice to see DZG are increasing the quality of new exhibits they build. An outdoor viewing area was built, as well as an off-show house in the far corner (where the babirusa shed used to be).
      The two elderly kangaroos (who for a short time lived in the former babirusa enclosure) moved into the first giant anteater enclosure (built last year from the former cassowary enclosure), where Romy lived originally. Hopefully the roos will be moved elsewhere if a male anteater arrives.

    • The zoo started to get into a more frequent habit of putting up information signs explaining to visitors about any work going on. Some new animal signage has also been added around the zoo which is very welcome.

    • The zoo continued their success breeding pygmy marmosets. At least another 2 have been born this year.

    • 1:1 Cotton-Top Tamarins joined the small primate exhibits.

    • A female Brazilian tapir was born and named Luna.

    • The restored bear ravine Tecton was opened up for the public to walk around for the first time in decades. Additionally, each of the 13 Tectons (if you include the demolished penguin Tecton) now have their very own large, detailed information sign.

    • The zoo announced a landmark plan to raise £800,000, in three years, to build a brand-new orang enclosure. The large, much needed, new exhibit will replace the entire hunting dog enclosure. The new enclosure will be roughly oval-shaped; 26m at its widest point and 48m at its longest point. It will be a covered enclosure and the orangs will be joined by the lar gibbons, who will be getting a new house. The plans also show three new viewing areas. An orangutan enclosure appeal area was built up against the orang house. They have so far raised over £215k.

    • The old barn in the farmyard was demolished. A new one at least twice the size and of much better quality was built in its place. It includes teaching areas, a ‘conservation corner’, as well as various small animal exhibits.
    It was originally thought that this new ‘farm barn’ would simply contain the same animals that the old barn did; hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and such like, which it does. However, the zoo then mentioned that some invertebrates and amphibians would be going in there too.​

    Since the old discovery centre closed last year (which held an array of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates) and the appearance of several newly built vivariums within the new barn, it was thought that most, if not all, of the old discovery centre stock would be going in there as well.

    This was not so. A keen-eyed zoochatter visited and noted that the new farm barn vivariums contain many new species that were not on show in the old discovery centre. Some of the species on show there include: Sudan plated lizard, giant African land snail, axolotl, lesser siren, European mantis, African pygmy hedgehogs, giant stick insects, giant millipedes, jungle nymphs, leopard geckos, walking stick insects and spiny mice. The zoo also mentioned that leaf cutter ants may be going in there too. It sounds a lot more like a discovery centre than a farm barn to me.

    They really should have branded it as a new bigger better discovery centre rather than a 'farm barn' in my opinion.​

    • The tigers got a smart new climbing frame, which was built thanks to the hard work of zookeepers who stayed after hours. It's pretty much the same as the old one, which was showing its age, but with a few alterations such as a flexible bridge that now links the two structures.

    • In June, the zoo had another litter of Asiatic short-clawed otters. The three older siblings, born in 2015, relocated to Camperdown Wildlife Centre in Scotland.

    • Something that took many people by surprise was the announcement of a plan to spend £250,000 on one of three newly proposed projects in 2018. The zoo allowed the public to decide which one of the three options will go ahead first by allowing visitors, who added the 10% voluntary donation to their entrance fee, to vote for which option is their favourite. The voting took place for the remainder of the year.

      The three options were...

      Option 1: "The first project is adapting the fencing in the CHIMP enclosure, which will enable us to introduce males to the all-female group, as well as extending the climbing frame and creating additional viewing facilities for visitors".

      Option 2: "The second proposed development includes reinstating BROWN BEARS back into the Tecton Bear Ravine and building separate internal dens at the far end of the paddock as well as providing a large climbing frame".

      Option 3: "The third option is to extend the Sumatran TIGER enclosure across the rear bank, as well as creating new housing with visitor viewing and building additional climbing frames and platforms".
    The tigers lead the vote throughout the year. However, the zoo has stated that all 3 options are in the pipeline, as part of their long-term development plan, and that if they have the funds then they may start work on the others anyway.

    The announcement of these 3 options created a great deal of discussion on the ‘Dudley Zoo in 2017’ thread. A poll was made to find out the majority opinion amongst zoochatters. The chimp and bear options were tied with 41.4% of the vote each. Funnily enough the tiger option came a definitive third place with just 17.2% of the vote.​

    • As was promised last year, work began on extending the snow leopard enclosure to roughly twice its original size. A viewing area was built to the side to allow visitors to look into the side viewing windows. A raised viewing platform the other side of the main path will also be built to allow visitors to look across into the, slightly awkward to view, front windows. The zoo tried to keep as much of the original natural foliage in there as they could. They will also build new platforms and walkways to enable the snow leopards to utilise as much of the space as possible.
    It seems as though the zoo could have made the extension a lot bigger, however they were heavily restricted by exhibit’s surroundings; a ‘medieval’ wall to the front, a steep drop to the rear and a 1937 grade II listed Tecton kiosk to the side. Nonetheless, they have still extended the existing enclosure to as much as is practicably possible in the space available.​

    • Benji (male Bornean orang) turned 40.

    • Six Red-breasted geese and four Cinnamon teals joined the collection, as did a red-legged seriema, which will eventually join the birds of prey display.

    • A female Victoria crowned pigeon joined the lorikeet walkthrough. A male set to arrive soon to form a breeding pair. A really nice addition.

    • The zoo had a first ever hatching of a violet turaco chick.

    • The lone female raven, ‘Jill’, who was hand-reared, left her small cage to be paired with a male at Welsh Mountain zoo. About time! The zoo has said that a new owl species will soon be joining the collection, which will presumably take her place.



    So overall 2017 was another big year for DZG. The rapid drive for improvements gained from 2016 not only continued but increased, and it looks like this year is set to be no different since the zoo recently unveiled their plans for 2018:


    To many people’s surprise the zoo revealed that, in 2018, £405,000 is to be spent on animal projects, plus another £150,000 will be spent on improving visitor facilities.


    The animal projects include:
    • By February half-term, a new exhibit for naked mole rats in the chimpanzee indoor viewing area. The colony will come from Chester zoo.
    • By the Easter hols, a revamp of the farmyard. This includes a £30,000 refurbishment of the outdoor area including new animals and children’s play equipment. (They were originally going to do this in 2017).
    • By May Day, a new £25,000 Binturong enclosure in the area of the yellow mongoose exhibit. The new exhibit will be 4.5m high, which will allow the ground-dwelling yellow mongoose and a new male tree-dwelling Binturong to live together (bit of an odd mix).
    • A new £25,000 Prevost’s squirrel exhibit. The two currently empty red squirrel enclosures will be demolished and replaced with a single large exhibit to house SIX males from Chester Zoo.
    • A new £15,000 area in the lemur walkthrough specifically for the black lemurs.
    • Improving the Brazilian tapir enclosure.
    • Updating 'Castle Creatures'.
    • Completing work on the parrot aviaries. (Presumably the Queen Mary aviary and triple parrot aviaries, that were originally going to be revamped in 2017).
    • Carrying out the winning £250,000 project from the 2017 visitor vote – highly likely to be the Sumatran tiger extension option.

    The visitor facilities projects include:
    • Redeveloping toilets.
    • Providing new playground equipment.
    • Building a new lion viewing platform (the one that was first proposed in 2017)
    • Transforming the former sensory garden area into a children's beach for the summer holidays; complete with buckets and spades.

    It’s going to be a busy year!


    Some other things to look out for in 2018:

    - Further details and fundraising for the orangutan project.

    - If the zoo decides to start some work on the chimp and/or bear projects on top of doing the tiger project. I’d guess the bear option would be next up as that’s the crowd-drawer.

    - Will any of the remaining stock from the old discovery centre, that hasn’t gone into the farm barn, show up in other parts of the zoo?

    - Any mention that the giraffe house/enclosure may be part of their long-term development plans.

    - The possible arrival of a male giant anteater to join the zoo’s female.



    And finally, here’s some news…

    The zoo is launching a free return offer to all January and February visitors. The free return tickets are valid up until 31st July.

    http://www.dudleyzoo.org.uk/free-offer-returns/
     
  2. MagpieGoose

    MagpieGoose Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: 3 Jan 2018
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  3. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    By my reckoning that's a total of eight- seven are named in the article plus the new baby.

    I counted male, 3 females and two or three younger ones when I visited a few months back.
     
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  4. MagpieGoose

    MagpieGoose Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the correction Pertanix, I've changed it to state the right number of Geladas :)
     
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  5. MagpieGoose

    MagpieGoose Well-Known Member

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    The tiger enclosure extension work has now officially won the vote,with work on the enclosure expected to start in September. The zoo will continue to do the vote next year with the new Orangutan and Gibbon enclosure now being an option along with the chimps and bears.
    And the winning project is... - Dudley Zoological Gardens
     
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  6. Benosaurus

    Benosaurus Well-Known Member

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    ... Obviously the Orang project was already happening. However, if the Orang option wins this new 2018 vote then the zoo says they should be able to reach the £800,000 target a year earlier than the planned 2020, and start work much sooner.
     
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  7. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    I can't see why they're bothering with another vote! Why not just allocate the funds to the Orangs anyway?! The last vote lead to the least needed development happening, the Orangs may be waiting forever if they have to win a vote each year!
     
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  8. Benosaurus

    Benosaurus Well-Known Member

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    Weren't we saying with last year's vote that we'd prefer the funds to go towards the orang project?

    The zoo is aiming to fundraise the orang project by 2020 regardless of any vote, so it will happen.

    This new vote is to decide whether to put the additional funds into the orang project and bring the work forward by a year, but i agree that if they've got the funds then they should just do it anyway and stop all this voting and messing about.
     
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  9. PaleoMatt

    PaleoMatt Well-Known Member

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    To be honest, the winner is always going to end up being what animal is the most popular because most visitors will choose their favourite and families will let their kids choose and the yongest won't understand what needs redeveloping or not.
     
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  10. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    Agreed.

    Much as I would like to see better use of the Bear Ravine ( I voted for it at the zoo & on here), which I think may have had the effect of generating extra funds rather than minor alterations to the tiger enclosure, the Orangs need is greater than any other current species. The sooner they start work, the better!
     
  11. Benosaurus

    Benosaurus Well-Known Member

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    Visited today.

    Weather-wise, it was cold, damp and miserable, with intermittent drizzle and strong gusts of wind throughout. Hence most of the animals were staying indoors or out of sight. Despite this though, there was still a good number of visitors on site.

    Briefly saw the new baby gelada baboon before the mother (presumably) took it into the off-show part of the house.

    Flamingos were shut inside due to the weather.

    Northern white faced owl and golden pheasant were occupying the former raven aviary. This is temporary while their aviaries undergo maintenance. The kookaburra have been taken off-show during the winter months.

    The extension to the snow leopard enclosure is in its final stages before completion. Standing next to it, it is a lot bigger than it appears in photos.

    There was a line of red and white tape down the bank next to the tiger enclosure which I presume was there to mark out the new extension; work on which will start in September.

    Counted at least 14 pygmy marmosets.

    The old red squirrel cages, due to be demolished this year to make way for a large exhibit for a group of Prevost's squirrels, had a sign on it saying, "Our (last remaining) squirrel has now gone to Welsh Mountain zoo to be re-introduced as part of a breeding programme".

    Saw the new Victoria crowned pigeon in the lorikeet walkthrough.

    Went into the new Farm Barn for the first time. It's a good size and nicely done; a mix of the old discovery centre and the old farm barn. Obviously the farm barn side of it is catered more towards young children though, which is fine.The vivariums were good, although there are duplicate vivs of the pygmy hedgehogs and European mantis. It would be good to see even more vivariaums for different reptiles/ amphibians/ inverts go in there (down the left hand side) in the future.

    Going at this time of year really lets you see how much unused space there is behind, or in-between, a lot of the enclosures at the zoo. Space that would turn small, average exhibits into very good ones.
     
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  12. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    @Benosaurus Did you get a picture of the tiger-tape? Or can you describe the (assumed) new layout?
     
  13. Benosaurus

    Benosaurus Well-Known Member

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    I've put a picture in the gallery
     
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  14. AdrianW1963

    AdrianW1963 Well-Known Member

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    Looking for information on the Gazzel that were at the zoo from before 2008 until around the end of 2009 or early 2010.


    They were in the enclosure now holding Parma/White throated wallaby in September 2009 but moved to the Giraffe enclosure before my visit on the 02nd October 2009 they used a small wooden shed just outside the Giraffe house.


    My question is did they get moved on or did they just die out as I can’t find any info on the demise of the Gazzel and if anyone could give me the species/sub species please?


    Many thanks in advance
     
  15. Angel

    Angel Well-Known Member

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    I certainly remember the gazelle being at DZG for many years in the enclosure next to the Barbary sheep that now holds wallaby. According to the signage, they were Arabian gazelle but I don't have any further information.
     
  16. AdrianW1963

    AdrianW1963 Well-Known Member

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    Many thanks for the info.

    Another question for those who visit Dudley Zoo can you remember the Dolphins in the pool next to Cuddles (killer whale) if so how many did they have I can remember 3 I think this was around 1972 any info on the dolphins (bottle nosed) did they die or did they get moved to another collection?
     
  17. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    I remember the gazelles well. According to Zootierliste they were Arabian mountain gazelles, Gazella gazella cora. I have a few black and white negatives from April 1972 which I can add to my list for scanning. I am fairly sure that the original stock came from Chester, which received animals from Aden in the '60s.
    I don't remember the dolphins, but I may have seen them in 1972. I also visited in June 1973, and although the dolphins are shown in the guide book that I bought on that visit, I have marked that I did not see them and there were sea lions in that pool.
     
  18. Angel

    Angel Well-Known Member

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    I remember seeing the dolphins and Cuddles in the early 1970s. I'm fairly sure there were 3 dolphins but can't be 100% sure. Sorry, but I've no idea whether they died or got moved.
     
  19. Benosaurus

    Benosaurus Well-Known Member

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    The gelada baboon born on 21st December is another boy. He is the 4th gelada birth at Dudley and the 4th one to be a male.
    Gelada reveals gender! - Dudley Zoological Gardens

    The zoo already has a bachelor group, containing 5 males, in another enclosure further up the path.
     
  20. Benosaurus

    Benosaurus Well-Known Member

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    @Parrotsandrew would be a good person to ask.