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Legislation in Sweden on minimum size of zoo enclosures

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Dan, 9 Sep 2008.

  1. Dan

    Dan Well-Known Member

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    I hope this will interest you:

    I know that the size of an exhibit at a zoo isn´t the only important factor for the animals welfare, but I do find it to be very important, indeed. In my country, Sweden, we have legislation on the minimal exhibit area that is allowed for the holding of wild animals. Regarding some species, it is also regulated that the exhibit must give them climbing or digging possibilities and the likes of that. These regulations of course prevents the existence of crappy “roadside zoos” as well as private individuals from keeping exotic animals as pets in the backyard. I find all this excellent and will list some examples below. I would very much like to know if similar legislation exists in other countries?

    First though, for the very few who might understand Swedish, here is a link to the particular law:

    http://www.sjv.se/download/18.7502f61001ea08a0c7fff45617/2003-077.PDF

    So here is my list of examples. Please note that for NONE of these animals is it allowed to only exhibit them indoors. ALL must have access to outdoors enclosures! I have not necessarily mentioned all rules and regulations, for instance there are for all - or practically all - species regulations on the minimum size of BOTH indoors and outdoors exhibit area AND for off exhibit/night stable area. Anyway, here we go:

    Species/minimum exhibit area/examples of other regulations:


    Cat species weighing more than 100 kilos, (lions and tigers)/indoors exhibit 100 square meters, outdoors exhibit 1000 square meters with different ground levels and vertical logs to climb (mesh cages not allowed), night stable 6 square meters per individual and a minimum of 24 square meters

    Cat species between 30 to 100 kilos, for instance leopards/outdoors exhibit 1000 square meters or 500 square meters if the exhibit is a mesh cage with a minimum height of 5 meters/regulations on climbing possibilities etc

    Cat species between 5 and 30 kilos, for instance ozelots/outdoor exhibit 500 square meters/ lots of other requirements

    Wolf, Hyena etc/outdoor exhibits 2000 square meters

    Brown bear/outdoors exhibit 1500 square meters

    Polar Bear/outdoors exhibit 1500 square meters including pond 600 square meters with minimum depth of 3 meters

    Elephants/indoors exhibit 50 square meters per individual with a minimum of 200 square meters (floors must be heated), outdoors exhibit 4000 square meters

    Zebras (and similar animals), outdoors exhibit 2500 square meters

    Hippo: outdoors exhibit 2500 square meters including pond 200 square meters with minimum depth of 1,5 meters

    Chimps, Gorillas and Orang-Utangs/ indoors exhibit 150 square meters, 1000 cubic meters and a ceiling height of at least 5 meters, outdoors exhibits 500 square meters or 1000 square meters if the enclosure is a mesh cage/ a lot of climbing possibilities etc


    I could go on and on, but here I have shown you some interesting examples, I think. Many of these MINIMUM STANDARDS in Sweden far exceeds what you get to see when you visit an old inner city zoo in Western Europe, I am sorry to say. In fact, quite a few of the exhibits in my own “home zoo” – Copenhagen – would be considered literally criminal in Sweden. (I live in Sweden but Copenhagen is the zoo closest to me…). Almost every exhibit of bigger mammals would be shut down by law.

    Please comment, everybody!
     
  2. docend24

    docend24 Well-Known Member

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    I don't like these type of regulation, things are different case by case. I'm afraid this could end up with a law providing dolphins enough climbing and digging in their enclosure.
     
  3. Dan

    Dan Well-Known Member

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    I really expected this posting would generate lots of replies....
     
  4. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    DAN - as a zoo owner, this thread is right up my alley! Thank you.

    Is there a link in English to your Swedish regulations?

    You mention that large cats must have a minimum outdoor area of 1000 square metres - but how many cats are allowed to occupy this area?

    You also mention that zoos in your country DON"T comply with these spatial requirements. How do they get away with non-compliance?

    As a matter of interest, how many elephants can occupy the 4000 square metres?

    Are there any further requirements such as the need for supplementary exercise, enrichment etc?
     
    Last edited: 10 Sep 2008
  5. ^Chris^

    ^Chris^ Well-Known Member

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    I have to say I disagree with Docend24, and I think these kinds of rules as a bare minimum are important to establish a basic level enclosure- though I can see Docend's point, I think it's a case of it being flexible for the species.
    Are there any sorts of rules dictating group size?
     
  6. taun

    taun Well-Known Member

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    That would be usefully, as some of there sizes seem small even for one animal
     
  7. Dan

    Dan Well-Known Member

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    I am so very glad for your interest shown and questions asked!

    First of all, Steve Robinson asks if there is an English translation available. I will e-mail the government department in question and ask. If not, I´d be happy to try to translate at least some of the most interesting parts myself. As an example, these are the requirements regarding elephants (Chapter 8):

    - The animals must have access to showers or a pond with a minimum depth of 1 metre.
    - An off-exhibit outdoors enclosure must exist
    -Indoors exhibit must have a minimum of 50 square meters per animals or a minimum of 200 square meters. The floor must be heated and the animal must have "shrubbing possibilities" (hope this is understandable English...).
    - The indoor exhibit must hgive the possibility to separate all the individuals - again the area must be 50 square meters per individual.
    - Outdoors exhibit must have a minimum area of 4000 square meters. The grounds must be soft - sand or soil. "Shrubbing possibilities", here also.

    But then there are other regulations in the other chapters of the law that applies to elephants: they, like all other mammals, must be given access to outdoors exhibit every day of the year and they, like all other mammals, cannot be chained/tied up overnight.

    Steve and others ask whether it is regulated how many animals that may be kept in exhibits? Good question and oddly enough the answer is no, at least as far as outdoor exhibits are concerned. For some indoor exhibits there are rules on this, see my example on elephants above. I a way I guess the legislator leaves this question to common sense, which - I must stress - definitely works: I have never seen any sign of overcrowding in any Swedish zoo, whatsoever. Take the outdoor minimum area for brown bears just as an example - nobody in Sweden would dream of cramming 10 - 12 bears into these 1500 square meters or something stupid like that. (Partly because of the law, partly because of, yes - common sense. "Roadside zoos" are not possible in Sweden. Again: partly because of laws like this but also because of public awareness. Any obvious overcrowding, any obvious mistreatment would create a public outcry in Sweden. The press would be there in an instant. I am glad that this is the case.)

    Perhaps one could suggest that the question is indirectly regulated, though. The first chapter in this law contains a lot of different requirements on all sorts of issuses, like that all species must be kept in adequate social groupings, that outdoor areas must not be "trampled into destruction" (can´t find the proper English words here....) etc.

    And, yes - in this first chapter there are lots of specifications on all sorts of issues, as I mentioned. There are rules on lighting, noise levels and air quality in stables and indoor exhibits, rules on how the zoo must have access to an academically trained zoologist (with exact requirements for his or her education), rules on shelter from wind and rain in outdoor exhibits, rules that say that animals may only temporarily be chained/tied up. I could go on with many more examples. But basically it is a very good catalouge of requirements from an animal welfare point of view.

    This law was passed in 2004 and gives the Swedish zoo 10 years to comply with its regulations. So in 2014 everything must be enforced. But I can honestly say that at least as far as the outdoor minimum areas for big mammals are concerned, you would find it hard to find an exhibit that isn´t already in compliance with the law.

    Oh... and maybe Steve missunderstood me a bit when i wrote about Copenhagen zoo - my "home zoo"? Copenhagen being the Danish capital of course, I happen to live in its "sister city" Malmoe, in Sweden. There is some water separating the two cities but since 2000 we are conneced with a bridge.

    And Steve - you are the owner of a zoo in Australia? Do you have a web site? I would love to check it out!
     
    Last edited: 11 Sep 2008
  8. Dan

    Dan Well-Known Member

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    Specifically to taun:

    You write:
    "... some of there sizes seem small even for one animal."

    I am pleasantly surprised, and in all honesty very happy about your statement, because exhibit size continues to be an extremely sensitive issue to me, I must confess. I can´t help but think that this is one of the basic issues on animal welfare in zoos.

    But I would have thought that many of these minimum requirements in Swedish law still are more strict than in ALL OTHER countries? Give me some more specifics on your standpoint, please!
     
  9. taun

    taun Well-Known Member

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    Let me take the elephants minimum requirements.

    50 square meters is not very big esp. for a Mature male. Although it is great the specify such conditions, surely if they want the best for the animals then merely suggesting the minimum requirements, a simple statement saying that adequate space should be provided, this way the government could then take judgement on the individual exhibits and not merely measure them up!

    Some zoos will just give there animals the minimum size as stated in the law to therefore save on space, when this may not be adequate for the animals as standards in zoo husbandry and way animals are still evolving.

    Dan, could you tell us when these laws were last revised? As I believe for these to be really worth while they would need to be taken into account research and changes in husbandry as time passes.
     
  10. Dan

    Dan Well-Known Member

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    Taun,

    This law was passed/legislated in 2004. When you write "revised", is that the same as "changed"? (Damn yoy Englishmen, you have so many words in your vocabularily (probably tragically misspelled I know, but...) that you make the rest of us go crazy....) Hmmmmmmmm... :(:mad::eek:

    I will have to think more about what you write, but just as a quick example/reply to your post:

    In Sweden, the elephant bull must be given an outdoor enclosure of 4000 square meters. Is that not good? Compare the outdoor enclosure for the bull at Chester zoo - I find it appalling...

    Please note that I am in no way trying to make this a "nationalist" issue - I am only debating animal welfare. But it really and honestly seems to me like Sweden have the best laws on zoo animal welfare. I may be right and and I may be wrong. Like I wrote in may original mail I would be very interested to get to know about legislature in other countries.

    Let´s go on discussing this.
     
    Last edited: 11 Sep 2008
  11. Dan

    Dan Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmmm..............quick PS to taun:

    You write:

    "......... simple statement saying that adequate space should be provided, this way the government could then take judgement on the individual exhibits and not merely measure them up!"

    But that would be a long and hard process for the animals. You know how long it takes to build Elephant enclosures. I would suggest that law enforced minimum standards is a very good start.

    Anyway... and luckily - never mind our debate for a second or two - I am very happy indeed to be able to tell you that elephants in Swedish zoos are really doing fine, as far as I can see.

    Elephants are only kept in two Swedish zoos: Kolmården and Borås.

    In Kolmården there are two Asian females. Their enclosure is shown in the gallery at this web site. I am not sure, but my impression is that these two female are managed by "free contact" (good or bad?) and that they are now and then taken into the woods (outside the zoo) to wander and eat. (This zoo is situated "out in the wilderness"). Their "regular" enclosure looks big, compared to many other elephant enclosures.

    In Borås, there is an African herd. I would guess 5-6 members including a bull. The herd is, as far as I can understand, daily let out on the "African Savanna", that I think is something like 20 000 square meters big. It is populated with antelopes, zebras etc. There is a large pond in which the animals can bathe. I don´t know if the bull is ever let out int the "African savanna", but if not, the photos I have seen show that there are very large enclosures behind the elephant house, combined I would yhink that they meet the 4000 sguare meter requirement.
     
    Last edited: 11 Sep 2008
  12. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

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    It may not be the best outdoor but indoors the Bull now has nearly as much room as the whole group of Cows and calves do indoors,he also has the area outside in the car park.Bearing in mind the Bull area at Chester was designed to house the Bull Chang who is probaly one of the largest and strongest Bulls been kept in a zoo,when he came to leave the zoo he was suppose to go to Paris but the rebuilt Bull enclosure there was not strong enough to take him so Chester refused to send him in the end he went somewhere else in France.Chester has very much learn`t from the past with housing Bull Elephants as they have had at least one get out and go on the rampage outside of the zoo grounds.
     
  13. Dan

    Dan Well-Known Member

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    Just a clerification on a specific detail:


    Taun wrote:
    "Let me take the elephants minimum requirements.
    50 square meters is not very big esp. for a Mature male. "


    But the minimum requirement is always 200 square meters, so if we assume that a mature male elephant will always be kept alone in an indoors exhibit, the minimum for his indoors exhibit is 200 square meters, not 50 (and the minimum for his outdoors exhibit 4000 square meters).

    Stll a bit surprised that this thread doesn´t generate more replies....
     
  14. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    It would appear that your Swedish standards follow a, more or less, similar format to our Aussie standards - but with different spatial requirements.

    However, your spatial requirements are meaningless unless they prescribe the number of animals that can be kept within that space. You say that "commonsense" prevents overcrowding, but the sad thing about commonsense is that it is not common anymore. Different people have different interpretations about what constitutes "overcrowding". When someone complains, what are the legislators to do? Whose definition of overcrowding is right. The zoo world is full of "experts" that they could consult - but every "expert" will have a different idea. If the number of animals for a given space is prescribed in the standards there can be no argument - black is black and white is white.


    To take your elephant example - 4000 square metres for an outside area is a fair area ...... but for how many elephants? Would you house 4, 5, 6, or 7 in that space. Compare the NSW Standards: 2000 square metres is the minimum area legally permissible for two elephants. For every extra elephant you need to add 25% of 2000 square metres [500 square metres] more space. Your 4000 square metres would restrict you to 6 elephants in NSW and everyone knows exactly where they stand.

    I would be very interested to know what species specific standards your country has for enrichment. If you can get me an English translation of these standards I would be very grateful.

    Our national government is now taking on the task of developing standards for exhibited animals [previously the realm of the States] and enrichment is a subject that they are wrestling with. One of the problems is, that for some forms of enrichment to be truly worthwhile [ and not just paying lip service to the concept ], they must be spontaneous and not anticipated by the animal. And spontaneity is almost impossible to prescribe!
     
  15. DanKoehl

    DanKoehl Well-Known Member

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    Location of the bull Chang

    Chang is, together with the paris breeding group (=no elephants in Paris at all presently) located in Zoo Le Pal in Dompierre-Sur-Besbre on France >>

    Elephants at Dompierre Le Pal Zoo in France
     
  16. Dan

    Dan Well-Known Member

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    Well, in respose to Steve, I am sorry to say that I have now received the information that this Swedish legislation is not translated into English. I kind of suspected that.

    But if you have any special questions concerning this or that species, I would be most happy to give you my amateur translation into English.

    As for Steve´s question about standards for enrichment, I´m pretty sure that no legislation exclusively directing this question exists. As I have hinted, in the legislation that I presented there are a number of rules that deals with the subject, but that would probably be it. It is certainly not a catalogue full of minimi requirments concerning enrichment.

    The more I think about it, the more it surprises me (just like you guys pointed out) that the minimum standards for outdoors exhibit space doesn´t also specify the numbers of individuals allowed to be held. Even if -as I pointed out - this does not seem to have created any problems. But I will e-mail the authorities about it.

    Stay tuned....
     
  17. nicholas

    nicholas Well-Known Member

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    The Swedish law on minimum space requirements is a good attempt at creating good animal welfare. However, it lacks a lot in several departments, such as the number of animals that can be kept in a certain amount of space. For some animals this is dictated, but for the majority it is not. Also, some of the space requirements are really screwed up e. g. a vervet should be kept in an enclosure of at least 100 square meters inside and 200 square meters outside, but a capuchin can be kept in an enclosure of 5 square meters inside and 10 square meters outside. I don't think any capuchin would be happy in an enclosure of that size, and I believe all capuchin enclosures in Sweden are probably about ten times as big, but it is the strange laws I want to highlight.

    Regarding enrichment and the laws controlling this, there is a law in Sweden that states "all animals kept in captivity should have the opportunity to express natural behavior". Good as this might sound, it is rarely if ever put in to practice, and there have been no convictions for people who have broken the law.

    The law that this thread originally speaks about has specific requirements regarding exhibit design (e. g. monkeys should have amble climbing opportunities, vertical tree trunks and several resting places on high level etc). Though that is about exhibit design, it takes into account the requirements of the animals, and might be seen as a form of law enforced enrichment.
     
  18. Dan

    Dan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks so much for this very interesting response!

    I must confess that my main interest is big mammals and that I may well have overlooked shortcomings in this legislation as far as smaller animals are concerned. Appreciate that you point this out.

    However, would you agree that the minimal space requirements for elephants, lions, bears etc (i.e. "big mammals") are are much better in Sweden than in most other countries? This is my impression.
     
  19. nicholas

    nicholas Well-Known Member

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    Yes Dan ;) I agree. Like I said, that law is a good attempt, but there are details that bug me a lot. Like the fact that primates up to 3 kg can be kept inside year around, without outside access. I suspect this is due to the fact that Callitrichids are so common in Swedish zoos, and most zoos would need drastic rebuilding if they were to be forced to give their Callitrichids outside access. Having worked with these small primates in both situations, I can say that I strongly believe they benefit from outside access (they get wonderful tanned faces for one thing!).
     
  20. Meaghan Edwards

    Meaghan Edwards Well-Known Member

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    This is definately a good start, I hope other countries take note!