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Expensive Species to Exhibit

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Falcosparverius, 24 Jul 2013.

  1. Falcosparverius

    Falcosparverius Well-Known Member

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    I would like to know if certain expensive species to exhibit are worth the money put into. Do the profits of showcasing these specific animals offset the major costs needed? Some that come to mind include the following:

    Elephant: Major attraction, but major cost in landscaping, buildings, and pools.
    Giant Panda: Rare and costly as a fee is needed to exhibit these bears.
    Panda "Rent" Too High, U.S. Zoos Say
    Polar Bear: Star attraction, pool and filtering remains expensive.
    Common Hippo: Megafauna, but not as interesting because of inactivity, as well as costs for pool and (strong) filtration.

    Some species will draw huge crowds (panda); while others are less attractive (hippo). What other expensive species are exhibited? Are there any species that require expensive and/or extensive care but are largely "unpopular" species? (I use the word unpopular to explain how the general public will flock to some exhibits, but pass others without even looking at the animals, such as most ungulate exhibits)
     
  2. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd imagine any larger aquatic species (seals, dolphins, manatees, etc) would need relatively expensive filtration systems and therefore have high exhibit costs. Penguins requiring expensive cooling systems would also be expensive to maintain. All these animals are very popular though, and are major drawcards, although penguins that can be kept outdoors would obviously cost a lot less to keep.

    Larger species that require heated indoor quarters in zoos in colder parts of the world would also be relatively expensive.
     
  3. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    Is a koala considered to be expensive? I read somewhere that each koala in the UK costs $30,000 (pounds?) per annum in upkeep.
     
  4. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Presumably that is because their food can't be (all) grown by the zoo in the UK (Edinburgh) and has to be purchased from growers. But in suitable climates, e.g. Australia, California, Eucalypts could be grown and so costs would be much lower?
     
  5. FWC

    FWC Well-Known Member

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    Orcas in virtually every way, shape and form.

    They are expensive to acquire, expensive to feed, expensive to create enclosures for, expensive to maintain those enclosures, expensive medical care, etc, etc, etc....

    However they seem to be awfully good at making revenue though...
     
  6. Shirokuma

    Shirokuma Well-Known Member

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    I think animals like polar bears and hippos only need to be expensive if they are kept in swimming pools with underwater vieiwing. If you have them in more natural settings it can be much more manageable.
     
  7. Moebelle

    Moebelle Well-Known Member

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    The Cincy zoo spends more money on the Sumatran rhinos more then any other species.
     
  8. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to try to be systematic abut this. The main costs for keeping any species must be
    • housing
    • diet
    • energy (mainly heating/cooling depending on local climate)
    • staff
    • veterinary
    • husbandry
    A few species have special costs, such as the 'rental' paid to China for giant pandas.

    Elephants must come out high to very high in virtually all these categories. The housing costs must be high because of the strength the animals and the fact that they must be kept in groups, but with separate accommodation for bulls etc. A group of elephants also needs a team of specialist keepers.
    Pinnipeds must have high costs too: fish are expensive and they eat a lot of them. There are also high husbandry costs for water, pumping, filtration and adding salt (as UK collections are required to do) - unless the zoo happens to be on the coast with access to clean sea water.
    I think that keeping a group of orangs must be expensive too. They are strong and persistently destructive, so their enclosures will need regular inspection and maintenance. A varied diet of fruits can be expensive too.
    There are no manatees in the UK, I wonder if this is because they are high cost too: they need large and relatively deep pools (preferably with underwater viewing) so heating and filtering a large volume of water will also be expensive and I presume they eat a lot too. They would also be particularly costly to transport.
    Veterinary costs are partly a matter of luck, but the old maxim 'prevention is better than cure' probably applies. If quarantine is required for new specimens or if regular hormonal assays are necessary to time the mixing of breeding stock, these will be extra costs.

    Alan
     
    Last edited: 24 Jul 2013
  9. Falcosparverius

    Falcosparverius Well-Known Member

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    So aquatic animals and megafauna (elephants, apes, etc) are generally expensive. Food and heating/cooling regulation can also add to the cost. Enclosure costs more in stronger/agile animals obviously. Are there any ungulates that require extensive care? What about smaller mammals, birds, reptiles?
     
  10. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member

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    I would think carnivores would be very expensive since they need to eat meat all the time. Elephants would be expensive not only for the housing, but also for the large amounts of food they eat.
     
  11. tschandler71

    tschandler71 Well-Known Member

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    Elephants at Birmingham have been expensive but the return on investment has been outstanding.
     
  12. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    Has the zoo done a study to determine actual R.O.I?
    What is the increased income to the zoo and how long will it take to pay then for the exhibit and additional maintenance costs?
     
  13. Rachrodgers89

    Rachrodgers89 Member

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  14. DeydraOZ

    DeydraOZ Well-Known Member

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    Sea otters are super expensive to keep. Mostly because of their diet. They need high grade quality sea food, and they need a lot of it.
     
  15. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    Koalas would be one of the most expensive Australian animals to keep, even in Australia. This is because cutting all their browse is time consuming and therefore very labour intensive.
     
  16. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    Platypus are expensive to keep because of the quality of the food.
     
  17. Buldeo

    Buldeo Well-Known Member

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    Velociraptors.

    I have a hard time putting the great apes into the "mega" fauna category, but I imagine they would be tremendously expensive to care for; they're too intelligent for their own good. Plus, health care costs and produce isn't exactly cheap these days.
     
  18. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    Megafauna is roughly anything over 100 pounds.
     
  19. Buldeo

    Buldeo Well-Known Member

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    I'm aware. It doesn't outwardly seem appropriate, though. "very large, huge" = whales, elephants, hippos, rhinos, some hoof stock, etc.
     
  20. Martin Smith

    Martin Smith Member

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    A lot of zoos use "fallen stock" from local farms for feeding carnivores: animals which have died on the farm/stables in any other way other than humanely, by a licensed slaughterman.

    I remember our Head cat man at Port Lympne having an accident in his Land Rover after having been out to pick up a couple pigs.... when he came round in the crumpled mess of his vehicle there was a little old local man shaking him asking if he was ok....... and then added "sorry mate, but I'm afraid your pigs have had it!!" :D

    Elephants, especially in colder European & North American climates should be a lot more expensive to house..... indoor heated yards etc...... but sadly in a lot of places are not.