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My ideas/planning for a "zoo" in Dunedin + questions.

Discussion in 'Fantasy Zoos' started by Kawekaweau, 11 Mar 2017.

  1. Kawekaweau

    Kawekaweau Well-Known Member

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    Hey ZooChat. I'm a very new member here, and I'd like to share my idea for a zoo in Dunedin. It would take a lot of money and work, and negotiation (especially for natives and the few species I would like to import, keep it under ten, highlighted in bold), but I think it would be a nice, relatively small collection of natural curiosities.

    First of all, there would be an entrance building before the main collection of animals. This would consist of a museum (the unique point of the zoo is that it teaches about the animals on display from an evolutionary perspective). This museum would display both real specimens and replicas of evolutionary significant species, such as small, prehistoric toed horses (Mesohippus or Miohippus specimens can easily be found for sale), evolutionary series of shark teeth (Isurus - Carcharodon and Otodus - megalodon), some dinosaur and mammoth bones, and things like stromatolites and vestigial organs.

    Next would be an indoor aquarium (would be freshwater at first, but don't want to rule out a carpet shark tank as an addition) with the following species in their own tanks:

    Atlantic mudskipper (legal to import privately but not found in practice).
    Armored or Senegal bichir.
    Blind cave tetra.
    Dwarf puffer.
    Fire eel/any spiny eel.
    Giant kokopu.
    New Zealand longfin eel.
    Mudfish of several species.
    Japanese firebelly newt.

    After the aquarium, you would go outside into the "main" zoo. This is where the "megafauna" is kept. A list of species which can already potentially be acquired within New Zealand is below, though I would not use them all.

    Mesopotamian fallow deer.
    Pere David's deer.
    Ostrich.
    Emu.
    Guanaco.
    Scimitar horned oryx (among my favorite ungulates).

    There would also be a farmyard with rare domesticated breeds, which can be interacted with and used for animal therapy.

    Miniature zebu (may or may not be a case of island dwarfism).
    Arapawa goat.
    Mediterranean miniature donkey.

    The following invertebrates and reptiles:

    American alligator (would need an indoor exhibit, need a good idea of maintenance costs and would have to be a post-opening addition).
    Galapagos tortoise (would also likely need an indoor exhibit, but no evolutionary exhibit is complete without one!).
    Common native lizards (lowest license level at first, but would like to advance to rarer species).
    Tuatara (requires competency with more common native species first).
    Wetas (multiple species).
    Mandibulate moths (may be a pinned insect exhibit instead as they are so tiny).

    Along with the museum and aquarium buildings a vet room is also a must, as well as storage for food, maybe some animal waste could be sold for compost like at Auckland Zoo. I am open to suggestions, feedback and constructive criticism. A botanical garden with Wollemi pines and other living fossils is another possible option. Thanks.

    EDIT: Found no IHS for Galapagos tortoises, so they cannot be imported (yet). Hopefully Auckland will manage to breed their ones.
     
    Last edited: 11 Mar 2017
  2. Kawekaweau

    Kawekaweau Well-Known Member

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    Snarge, I just found out that Scimitars aren't on the approved antelope list. Hopefully Arabian oryx or sables may be available.
     
  3. Kawekaweau

    Kawekaweau Well-Known Member

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    A quick diagram of my indoor American alligator enclosure, with a couple of questions.

    1. How many heat lamps would be required to sufficiently heat the covered land area of the enclosure?

    2. I've read that for an alligator enclosure, the water filter should be powerful enough to clean an entire tank of this size, not just the water (1 watt per litre, about 49,000 litres), while 300 watts is a good heater for a 100 gallon tank. Scaling this all up to the enclosure, how many watts should I expect to use per day, and what would be the monthly costs?
     

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  4. SealPup

    SealPup Well-Known Member

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    Fossil area? Try a sequence such as this.
    1. Ediacara 2. Burgess Shale 3. Old Red Sandstone 4. Joggins Fossil Cliffs 5. Texas Red Beds 6. Ichigulasto 7. Morisson 8. Yixian 9. Messel 10. Ashfall 11. Laetoli 12. Pleistocene Europe 13. Pre-Maori NZ. Then it's everything from the Precambrian up to Holocene paleofauna of local interest.
     
  5. Kawekaweau

    Kawekaweau Well-Known Member

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    I was more thinking of displaying series of specimens (both real fossils and replicas) showing evolutionary transitions, as well as some more impressive "standalone" exhibits. Like the following:

    1. Otodus to megalodon evolution sequence (real teeth).
    2. Isurus to Carcharodon evolution sequence (real teeth).
    3. Human evolution sequence (replica bones).
    4. Precambrian/Ediacaran fossils (a few real ones but mostly replicas).
    5. Horse evolution (mix of real and replica bones).
    6. Mammoth and Edmontosaurus bones (real).
    7. Moa bones (real).
    8. Whale evolution (replicas, my local university can make casts of various fossil whale skulls).
    9. Dinosaur to bird evolution (mostly replica specimens but could get some real ones).
    10. Synapsid to mammal evolution (replica skulls, not sure where to get those).

    However, you do have some good ideas on your list. Old Red Sandstone and Burgess Shale would be particularly good.
     
  6. SealPup

    SealPup Well-Known Member

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    Well such sequences probably best belong in a separate part of the museum that describes processes, rather than explain ecological and climatic change (and ecological principles) over geological time. Look in a natural history book and things like DNA or convergent evolution occupy separate pages or chapters from those represented by the dioramas I suggested, which follow a standard pop paleo narrative introducing basal synopsis, birds, early man and the like. To each their own of course. :) I was thinking of Lakeland Oasis but done with more detail.
     
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  7. Kawekaweau

    Kawekaweau Well-Known Member

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    Hmm...

    I will keep all this in mind. I don't want my museum to end up bigger than the zoo area though. Another thing that might be good to have is an elimination process. Relatively unpopular species could be removed from the concept, and I could trim this up a bit. Would cut quite a bit of cost hopefully, especially with all the dough it would take to run the gator enclosure.
     
  8. Falanouc

    Falanouc Well-Known Member

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    Really nice zoo. I love the lack of large amounts of charismatic megafauna, all too common in zoos, and the addition of the fossils.
     
  9. Kawekaweau

    Kawekaweau Well-Known Member

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    After doing more research and consulting more people, I've decided to revise the species list. Most outdoor megafauna and domestics have been removed, while more natives and birds have been added.

    Domestic animals:

    Dwarf zebu.
    Guineafowl.

    Native reptiles and invertebrates (requires license for public display):

    Common native geckoes (Woodworthia and North Island Naultinus).
    "Category B" rarer native geckoes (Duvaucel's and Jewelled geckoes, requires at least 3-5 years of experience with the common species).
    Tuatara (would need a lot of experience, the only Category C I'm currently interested in).
    Northland giant centipede.
    New Zealand giant stick insect.
    Weta (more common species like Wellington tree weta first, then work up to Deinacrida wetas).

    Native fish (also requires license for public display):

    Giant kokopu.
    Mudfish (Canterbury and Brown).
    New Zealand longfin eel.

    Exotic fish:

    Blind cave tetra.
    Dwarf/other freshwater puffers.

    Birds (both native and exotic, former require license):

    Cape Barren goose.
    Red or yellow-crowned parakeet (may be needed to prove competence with native parakeets).
    Antipodes Island parakeet (should be doable as they are found quite often in licensed private hands).
    New Zealand pigeon (not technically captive, but rather attracted by planted fruit trees).
    Himalayan monal (possibly, may take up precious space for better species).
    Emu (possibly).

    Exotic reptiles and invertebrates (all of these will require the zoo to be approved by MPI as a containment facility, and most of these will need new IHS, or will need to be added to existing ones. Chlidonias, do you know the general procedure behind this?):

    New Caledonian giant gecko (will need to come from Australia to be part of the Australian lizard IHS).
    Madagascar giant day gecko (several facilities have this species, I'm surprised they're still not legal to keep privately).
    Galapagos or Aldabra giant tortoises (would need to be indoors, very rare, requires reputation, new IHS, but worth it).
    Lord Howe Island stick insect (successfully bred, a private breeder in Sydney got some).

    Non-domestic mammals (availability might vary, primates need MPI approval):

    Ring-tailed lemur.
    Black-and-white ruffed lemur.
    Pere David's deer OR Mesopotamian fallow deer (both endangered, but farmed in NZ).

    Plants:

    Norfolk Island pine tree.
    Wollemia pine.
     
  10. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    If you're wanting to avoid megafauna that our main zoos rely on to pull in the customers like tigers, lions, rhinos etc, how about something smaller but still exotic? I see you have lemur in your post above but what about Hamadryas baboon (Wellington are looking to export their males but there is little space for them in the region)? Felines are relatively straight forward to import. How about the Temminck's Golden Cat? Or serval?

    The idea of an extensive fossil display showing evolution would be a unique selling point for sure and a draw for the many people interested in natural history.

    Charismatic species are also a great oppotunity to generate revenue through encounters. A Hamadryas baboon encounter or lemur encounter (especially an immersive one where they climb all over you) would appeal to a wide range of people.
     
  11. Kawekaweau

    Kawekaweau Well-Known Member

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    My personal opinion is that charismatic fauna should be kept to a minimum in good zoos. I have also revamped my concept significantly to include no domestics or mammals, though I am certainly open to smaller ones of the latter.

    After seeking advice from reptile and fish keepers across the nation, I have decided to start off on my concept by keeping reptiles privately, starting with a leopard gecko and eventually common natives (with a license) and water dragons (I have decided an enclosure for these would be a must-have if starting the zoo with legal species, as they are attractive and popular). With my small current budget this will take a fair while, and this whole concept requires my situation to improve in the future, which I'm sure will happen eventually but I don't know when. In addition, MPI approval is a big process and I'm sure I could do it with enough time and reading through the bureaucracy but I don't think I could start my facility with "true" exotic animals. It's probably essential for long-term viability though.

    However, in all this uncertainty I have thought of a few animal and plant species which are "hard and fast" definites for this facility if it happens. The Eastern water dragon, blind cave tetra and Wollemi pine, as well as common native reptiles and fish. I have done my most extensive research on the care of all of these species and do plan to keep the dragons privately first, though for now I will be focusing on the leo. The fossil display is also hard and fast and will be comparatively very easy. I am still learning.
     
  12. animal_expert01

    animal_expert01 Well-Known Member

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  13. Kawekaweau

    Kawekaweau Well-Known Member

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    Cave tetras are mainly included as an example of cave evolution. No other cavefish seem to be available on the aquarium trade though a blind cave catfish is on the MPI tropical fish import list. That Skulls Unlimited is a good site though I'd prefer to get a middleman importer due to biosecurity and CITES issues.
     
  14. Kawekaweau

    Kawekaweau Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if this would be possible (would need to be a larger zoo/attraction to require it), but inspired by Zygodactyl's idea (Your innovative exhibit) I was thinking of a small cafe/refreshments place resembling part of the HMS Beagle. True to the quests of people like Darwin, Buckland and others it has a menu that allows patrons to eat through the animal kingdom (and maybe some exotic fruit for vegans). It'd be fairly vanilla stuff like feral meats (deer, tahr, duck) with some exotic meat (definitely ostrich, maybe kangaroo), dairy (buffalo, sheep) and bugs (huhu grubs and locusts), but most people I imagine would like to try something a little different. It could also act as a small museum with replicas of specimens like Buckland's Megalosaurus jaw and some signs explaining the history of natural sciences.
     
  15. animal_expert01

    animal_expert01 Well-Known Member

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    Well if your looking for interesting cases of evolution try the splash tetra, which jump up onto leaves to lay their eggs to avoid egg eaters, you could also do archerfish which have learned to shot fish off high branches, or Atlantic Killifish which have adapted to survive with humans after tests showed they can tolerate water with 8000 times more to toxicity than other fish, but then you could also do a species of lung fish, which would fit the ancient theme and have interesting evolutionary adaptations.
     
  16. Kawekaweau

    Kawekaweau Well-Known Member

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    Splash tetra and archerfish are available in NZ, but the Atlantic killifish is not. I doubt they'd be importable either, their adaptability makes them an invasive species hazard. Lungfish are not available either. Very slim pickings here (only blue-tongued skinks, leopard geckoes, Cunningham's skinks, inland and coastal bearded dragons and Eastern water dragons among the exotic lizards for example). Bichirs are available however, and are pretty much as exotic as it gets.
     
  17. animal_expert01

    animal_expert01 Well-Known Member

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    Yes I know, pickings are pretty slim here in Australia as well, but at least you can keep exotic species of reptiles, we can only keep natives, and you need a very expensive liscence.
     
  18. Kawekaweau

    Kawekaweau Well-Known Member

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    Good point. I guess the selection we have should be appreciated.

    Apart from introduced Australian frogs the only amphibians that can be held privately are axolotls and Japanese/Chinese firebelly newts. I'm thinking maybe the firebellies would be good to display alongside a model/exhibit of the extinct Yunnan lake newt. I was already thinking of having a bunch of life-sized models of extinct lizards and tortoises, such as the Rodrigues giant day gecko, Northland skink and Mauritian giant skink.
     
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  19. animal_expert01

    animal_expert01 Well-Known Member

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    Can you keep Axolotols in New Zealand? Also have you considered some giant tree ferns, they have been around since the dinosaurs and look very ancient, plus you can buy them at most local nurseries. Also an animal close to home which you could add to your extinct reptile statue collection could be the kawekaweau gecko (Which I will assume is where your got your username from)is the largest gecko ever which was only ever found in New Zealand. It also has quite a mysterious history with only one sighting ever recorded, and only one specimen which was randomly found in the back room of a museum and nobody knows how it got there. As you probably know, judging by your username. Also you could do the Yunnan Lake Newt statue beside a tank filled with polluted water, rubbish and introduced species.
     
    Last edited: 11 Apr 2017
  20. Kawekaweau

    Kawekaweau Well-Known Member

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    The kawekaweau is a good idea, though it needs to be said that the specimen may instead be from New Caledonia. The giant ferns are another good idea, a tank/pond with native quillworts too as they are a possible relative/descendant of lepidodendrales (fossils of this plant are commercially available also).

    Axolotls are indeed legal in NZ, I am/was under the impression that they were legal in Aus too (the only legal exotic amphibian). They could be interesting as an example of neoteny and an endangered species which is doing very well in captivity. With the years of breeding and artificial color variations one could even say they're domesticated in the sense that goldfish are (foxes only took 50 years to domesticate). And good idea on the Yunnan lake newt exhibit!