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My dream UK zoo

Discussion in 'Speculative Zoo Design and Planning' started by cold blooded, 24 May 2021.

  1. cold blooded

    cold blooded New Member

    Joined:
    24 May 2021
    Posts:
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    Location:
    UK
    Hi everyone, I’m Anthony, a zoo enthusiast and herp lover from London, UK.

    I’ve been a follower of the fantasy zoos forum for many years and thought it was time to get involved.

    I wanted to design a world class zoo, situated here in the UK, that would give the likes of San Diego, Taronga and Singapore a run for their money.

    Where possible, and where my artistic restraint allows, I have tried to remain realistic, giving consideration to space limitations, UK climate, and animal populations in EAZA institutions.
    I do however accept that the funding and space to house such a zoo in the UK, along with the display of some of the rarer species I would like to showcase is unrealistic.

    My zoo is set in the UK countryside and is circa 90 acres. Divided into zones, the geographical layout of the zoo exhibits animals in their appropriate ecoregions.

    The zoo’s guests are referred to as ‘explorers’ and the immersive visitor experience is designed to resemble a voyage of discovery.

    Whilst I will touch on off-view accommodation and husbandry areas, my understanding of the intricacies of backstage animal care and housing at zoos is limited, and therefore the focus of my designs will be visitor experience.

    This is very much a work in progress, with just the first few exhibits taking weeks of design.

    I welcome all comments and feedback and hope you enjoy my ideas :)
     
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  2. cold blooded

    cold blooded New Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    UK
    AFRICA: Tropical forest trail (part 1)


    Explorers begin their journey in the Northeastern
    Congolian lowland forests.
    From the main path, set amongst climate appropriate evergreen trees and mixed height flora visually similar to that of which can be found in this ecoregion, a large fallen tree trunk traversing two realistic rock formations serves as the gateway to the tropical forest trail.

    A sign, attached to the tree trunk and surrounded by life-sized sculptures of rainforest animals welcomes explorers to the trail, and directional signage on a post in front of one of the rock formations provides directions to its inhabitants. An A-board on the opposite side displays the day’s agenda of feeding times, educational talks and other activities occurring along the trail.

    Explorers pass under the impressive structure and are immediately immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of the Ituri rainforest.

    A hardy array of tropical plants including palms, ferns and bromeliads fill a framework of native plants and line either side of the main path, serving as a natural barrier between explorers and exhibits.

    Speakers, including two either side of the entrance, are strategically placed throughout the trail and play a concert of typical sounds you would experience exploring the moist broadleaf forests of Northeastern Africa. This immerses explorers and provides enrichment for the animal inhabitants of this area.

    In addition to visual and auditory stimulation, electric oil diffusers hidden amongst the foliage throughout the trail provide olfactory stimuli by occasionally releasing rainforest associated scents into the air. Various blends including a cedarwood, pine, eucalyptus, fir and vetiver mix are diffused on rotation to further engage the senses of both explorers and resident animals.

    Overhead is a network of mesh-enclosed trails, allowing primates to travel freely between their indoor home at the primate house to the right of the path and three outdoor exhibits: one directly to the left of the entrance, one adjoining the primate house and one further along the trail.

    Constructed from strong but fine woven wire mesh and cleverly interlaced between the naturally occurring tree branches that stretch across the path, the tunnels are almost invisible and give the impression of primates travelling through the forest canopy as they would in their natural habitat.

    The primate house is a large building providing year-round protection from the elements with a series of interconnecting exhibited and off-show day/night rooms, holding areas and shift yards. The facade is designed to resemble a rainforest lodge and is adorned with treated fire-retardant timber panels and a variety of climbing plants.

    Entering the building, explorers discover five laminated glass fronted exhibits spanning either side of the walls: two large exhibits to the left and one large and two medium sized exhibits to the right. Lining the centre of the room is a series of wooden benches, allowing explorers to sit and observe the inhabitants.

    The floor is covered with course dark-wood bark chips, similar to the substrate used in the exhibits, giving the impression explorers are sharing the space with the animals. The walls between exhibits are decorated with the same timber panels and foliage as the front of the building, and from the ceiling hangs a blend of forest climbing plants and vines, continuing the rainforest feel experienced outside of the building.

    Signage in front of exhibits and displayed around the building educates explorers on the housed species and the habitats they can be found in. They also provide directions to where the animals can be found in their outdoor exhibits if nobody is home.

    Almost as tall as they are wide, the exhibits provide plenty of usable vertical space, with a mix of natural and artificial climbing structures, rocks and tree branches. Species appropriate enrichment is provided in the form of climbing ropes and canvas firehose walkways suspended at varying heights across the exhibits.

    The five exhibits are shared by three species of old-world monkey on an ad-hoc rotation based on group size, dynamic and specific requirements at any given time. The species that call the primate house home are L’Hoest’s monkey (Allochrocebus lhoesti), Owl-faced monkey (Cercopithecus hamlyni) and Black-crested mangabey (Lophocebus aterrimus).
     
  3. cold blooded

    cold blooded New Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    AFRICA: Tropical forest trail (part 2)


    Back outside the primate house, the first exhibit explorers encounter, directly to the left of the trail entrance, is the current outdoor home for Owl-faced monkey (Cercopithecus hamlyni). Accessible to the other two species held at the primate house on rotation where necessary, the exhibit is currently the perfect size for the zoo’s four monkeys: an adult breeding pair and their offspring; one adolescent female and a new arrival infant male.

    Similar in design to their indoor holding but on a greater, more naturalistic scale, the spacious exhibit is rich with an indistinguishable mix of natural and artificial trees, rockery and climbing structures, towering more than 12 ft high, as well as plenty of visual barriers, shade and resting sites. The exhibit is enclosed in woven wire mesh and has an open top, with the upper 30% of the barrier made of smooth, non-climbable material. Explorers can observe animals at ground level here and at canopy level further along the trail on a path that ascends into the treetops.

    Next up on the trail, adjacent to the primate house on the right of the path, is a large, open top woven wire mesh exhibit, currently the outdoor home to a family group of five L’Hoest’s monkey (Allochrocebus lhoesti). The troop is made up of one dominant adult female, one adult male and their offspring of varying ages: one adult female, one adolescent female and one infant male. Two non-related adult females bought in from a zoo in France are housed separate to this group, with the plan to introduce the infant male once he reaches sexual maturity to form a second breeding group.

    Larger than the owl-faced monkey enclosure and abundant with trees, rocks and appropriately complex climbing structures fashioned from tree branches and canvas firehose, the exhibit accommodates the species’ natural locomotive patterns and encourages full use of the space. Resting platforms are present at various elevations, both facing the front of the exhibit, to allow explorers to observe the animals, and at the back, to accommodate privacy where desired. Like most exhibits in this area, tall grass blankets the floor. A natural and comfortable substrate for the animals, grass also allows keepers to scatter feed, encouraging natural foraging behaviour.

    Available on rotation to the other species held at the primate house, the exhibit is accessed through a series of transfer doors leading from the indoor housing, or via the overhead mesh tunnels that for this exhibit stretch out to an enclosed central platform suspended above the path then snake back to the enclosure.

    As explorers continue on the path, they can choose to head straight, down to gorilla kingdom, or turn left and follow a trail that gradually ascends up and around the owl-faced monkey enclosure to an elevation of 16 ft. From here, the elevated boardwalk winds around four other exhibits starting to descend back to ground level at gorilla kingdom.

    Whilst both trails eventually lead back to one another, the recommended route on the zoo map is via gorilla kingdom.

    At the split in the path, two medium sized billboard-style signs set in front of a plantation of medium sized native shrubs direct visitors either way. One sign details the damaging effect illegal timber removal is having on rainforest habitats and the other explains the zoo’s conservation work in the Okapi nature reserve, a world heritage site in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
     
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