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Orangutan Enclosures

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by jay, 3 Aug 2007.

  1. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

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    (Note: This thread split from http://www.zoobeat.com/2/ungulates-australia-7104/ )

    The thing with the oragngs is that there is nothing naturalistic about it at all. As u move from the rainforest of the tigers into the elephant zone you start to get a feel of humans intrusion into the rainforest but as you get to the orangs - there is no rainforest at all. Pat just how much do the orangs use those poles that sway?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 8 Aug 2007
  2. zookiah63

    zookiah63 Well-Known Member

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  3. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    not saying anyone is suggesting otherwise but i might just remind all i'm not getting on one of my anti-zoo tirades here. i'm really talking from an artistic perspective.

    jay - the orangs and siamangs use the sea of poles almost excusively. whilst they do look somewhat like a sea of green chopsticks, the apes do love them. they can move to virtually any area of the exhibit without touching the ground and it allows for and encourages proper naturalistic brachiation (or however its spelt) something many zoo can't offer their orangutans. its a great system. i can't really knock it for its functionality.

    at TOTE i love the village... i just think it needed to be more rainforesty there after. that is afterall, the story its trying to tell.
    i got some other little elephant and general tidbits for ya.. but i'll post them in the appropriate threads..
     
  4. zookiah63

    zookiah63 Well-Known Member

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    Apparently those 'chop sticks' are specially weighted. Each of them "gives" in a different way. When I'm sure of how it's set up I'll try and explain.

    You're right Patrick, the orangutan enclosure may not look like a rain forest but it does the job as far as enrichment and exercising the animals goes. When Santan, the adult male, was first transferred to that location he could hardly use the 'chop sticks'. He lacked the upper body strength. (Of course, he's doing well now.)
     
  5. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

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    im sure in time, (though not having been there, but guessing) that low scrub and grasses, will eventually grow alot, to cover the bases of the poles, and a nice griund cover. though i was thinking, would it be worth putting in some larger species within the poles, and seeing if they would survive, in a way that the orangs use the poles more.
     
  6. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    there is - the zoo transplanted around about 3 very, very tall palms (i think they might be washingtonias) and around 3 or 4 very tall thin trees that definately look like something poplarish to me. they are deciduous trees whatever they are....hotwired of course.
     
  7. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    The fact that he started to use them even if they were difficult for him at first(obviously as he couldn't climb before) indicates that they replicate the natural mode of travel in the wild. I would very much like to see Orangutans using these. There is no design like this in UK but Apenhuel in the Netherlands have a similar system- in fact Melbourne could have copied it from there as the Apenheul design is considerably older. (Unfortunately I wasn't able to see it in use there either as it hadn't quite opened on my visit).

    I think at Apenheul some of the 'chopsticks' actually hang over water. They are suspended so that they 'bounce' too. It all looks highly unnatural but if its functional for the Orangutans then I'm all for it.... So few zoos up until now have ever provided Orangutans with anything approaching their natural lifestyle...
     
  8. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    ....At Apenhuel if I remember correctly they were long bendy rubber pipes rather than rigid poles, but the concept is similar.:)
     
  9. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    grant - did you have a look at the gallery i posted of melbournes orang exhibit? if not its worth a look.

    they very well might have copied it from apenhuel, the zoo spent considerable time researching different successful exhibit types from around teh world before designing an exhibit encompassing three enclosures of radically different designs.

    a couple of years before the orangs moved into teh new exhibit they supplied the orangs with new climbing frames in the grottoes to build up muscle strength. prior to this teh poor things had next to nil climbing opportunities. still there would have been no way for proper brachiation, so this would have been very new to the orangs nontheless.

    they can now more over extended distances in a highly natural fashion. you still see orangs occasionally drop from a pole and walk a few meters before going upa again though (even though they don't always need to). but the siamangs do this too and prior to moving here they lived on a very well vegetated island with very large matured trees to climb in, so it may be just a bit "easier" to short-cut accross the ground occasionally. if the poles were taller they probably wouldn't do it so much.

    nontheless, as Zoo_Boy said, the groundcovers will hopefully grow and that will further discourage terrestrial travelling.

    i might ask sim to move this conversation to a general "orangutan enclosures" thread....
     
  10. Zooish

    Zooish Well-Known Member

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    I think the Melbourne sway poles look as natural as they can possibly get. And the poles definitely encourage brachiation like how orangs would in the wild with young saplings.

    Definitely better than Perth's orang exhibit. The whole modern/futuristic art installation look is just too much for me. Zoos have evolved over the centuries to place animals in increasingly natural looking contexts and i think Perth took a huge step backwards by choosing that enclosure design.
     
  11. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    'Sway Poles...' I like that, it sounds a pretty accurate description. And yes, how many times have I seen photos of wild orangs grasping two(or more) saplings at once like that.. it allows a far more natural method of travel than the rigid types of climbing equipment still provided in the majority of enclosures. I do think this is a breakthrough type of design for a species which has always seemed difficult to cater for properly in the captive environment- in many zoos they seem too lazy to bother to climb- maybe they need the extra stimulation this sort of design allows?

    (Does anyone know if the UK Chester Zoo's new Orangutan exhibit has anything like this incorporated into it?)
     
  12. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    i have always considered orangutans to be the hardest species to display in captivity in a naturalistic looking enclosure.

    thats why i love this topic and love thinking about ways to challenge that.

    i'm not a big fan of the telegraph pole and platform design thats so popular.

    i would prefer to see a sea of tall dead trees installed, intertwined with durable synthetic and interchangeable vines (i belive singapore has mastered the art of these, yes?). and when i say "a sea" i mean just that - keep most of the trees within arms reach of eachother. this environment functions the same but at least have natural shapes about them. much care would have to be taken to choose dead trees that have suitable "resting places" to encourage the orangs to not choose to rest on the ground. but provided the trees have the appropriate shapes and the orangs are provided with fresh cut green branches, they may very well revert to nestbuilding behaviour in captivity. after all, perths recently wild released, zoo-bred orang is doing just that in sumatra.

    of course ideally, an orang enclosure would be constructed on a site with very tall pr-existing live trees that can be hotwire protected to give at least a partial overhead canopy also. rather than containment walls i would like to see better use of wet moats also.

    as for the sway poles, thats a bit trickier. obvioously dead saplings arn't goint to look a hell of a lot better than green-painted steel poles nor are they going to be anywhere near as durable. bamboo? probably even less durable, but probabaly easily replaceable. and you have to keep in mind that you don't want to provide the orangs with tools to escape with. they are known for purposefully shorting out hotwires with branches and other "toys".

    you can still have a bit of Man-made stuff in there, but i would keep it to a minimum and keep it rustic and along the themeing of a in-situ rehab center..

    anyhow, i think a naturalistic and most importantly ENRICHING orang exhibit could be achieved with a bit of clever artistry and good design.

    i rate melbournes as very good - but i think the main enclosure could have been a little better in the use of its furnishings.

    again though, those chopsticks work wonderfully and i must admit blend in supprisingly well.......
     
  13. taun

    taun Well-Known Member

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    Chesters new exhibt has a network of ropes (lack of a better a word) for its in door enclosure which they are using most of the time i visit. and out side are the traditional wooded poles with ropes connecting them, which to be fair i do see the gibbons using them all the time.
     
  14. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    "ropes" ususally is a pretty good word to describe ropes i find taun. ;)
     
  15. taun

    taun Well-Known Member

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    They more like the old fire hoses but are fibre material so technical not rope :confused: I'll just dig this little whole over here and may be in Oz quite soon.
     
  16. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Its a pity Chester haven't got any 'sway poles' or 'chopsticks'(for want of a better word;) in the new design. I would certainly like to see orangutans using these somewhere.

    There aren't too many good Orangutan exhibits in the Uk, despite we've been keeping the species since way back when. Probably the best is Paington's which has simply a wooded island with tall trees- unfortuately I've hardly ever seen the Orangutans outdoors(here we go again....:) let alone climbing in the trees. I think its mainly because- no, I don't really know why its because...

    Maybe if they stuck fruit high up in the trees they would start using them? One or two of the animals are pretty fat and it seems an effort for them to move about much at all.
     
  17. ^Chris^

    ^Chris^ Well-Known Member

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    I think Chester's enclosure does try to achieve something similar to this 'sway pole' design by hanging all the 'ropes' (which as Taun says are more like fire hoses) vertically inside. Perhaps if they'd anchored them at the bottom and made them a little tauter it'd be even more like the sway pole design. As it is, it does sort of simulates that type of movement but the outside is really just the old-school pole and platform design all be it embellished with a lot of planting.
     
  18. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    tightly fixed verticle ropes or fire hose are a good idea. i can see that working quite well. at melbourne the "mesh enclosue" features large canvas "flags" fixed from the roof. the orangs can hide behind them or slide down them so they double as a privacy screen and a climbing structure. i hhaven't seen this used before, i believe melbourne consider the idea their own....
     
  19. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I've just had a look at the photos of Melbourne's Orangutan enclosures from the Gallery. It seems the swaypoles or chopsticks are driven into the ground which I hadn't realised. From memory the Apenheul (Dutch) design was long rubbery tubes which somehow hung down vertically, (like ropes) but stopped short of the ground. They were tensile and bounced slightly when an animal swung on one.( i din't see them in use but there was a model) The concept is similar in both though, allowing 'arboreal' travel and helping to keep the animals right off the ground. I also thought that Melbourne's colour scheme blended in well, and will do so even more as the ground vegetation grows. (The grey wall is the only part I'm not quite so keen on).

    On the other hand, Perth's design of new climbing structures looks like a mass of shiny metal- no 'give' in it and less attractive to the eye too.

    I've often noticed in zoos a distinct behavioural difference in that Sumatran Orangutans seem MUCH more active than the Borneans. They are more lightly built, with the result they are faster and seem to have more nervous energy and utilise their enclosure space more, climbing high up and brachiating more frequently. On the ground they sometimes walk upright too, which Bornean Orangutan are incapable of doing.
    By contrast, Borneans often seem more 'lazy' and reluctant to exercise themselves. In captivity they also seem to put on fat more easily than the Sumatrans too.

    I mentioned previously the Paignton zoo(bornean)Orangutans with a fine natural grove of tall trees they can climb- but which they hardy seem to use at all. I have a feeling that if they were a Sumatran group they would be using them a bit more frequently...
     
  20. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    there is a german zoo, perhaps leipzig whic does keep orangs in an outdoor environment with live trees...the orangs cannot use the trees as escape tools becaue of the width of the moat. Rotterdam Zoo's gorilla habitat uses simulated vines to great effect-something like that for orangs would be nice.
    if i had to modify taronga zoos exhibit to make it better id install a tree top viewing platform and probably integrate natural dead trees (like in the chimpanzee park) within the framework of existing poles.
    removing the shade sail at the western end of the exhibit would allow for hgiher climbing structures, thus encouraging the orangs to brachiate from one end of the exhibit to the other. as it is, the highest point in the enclosure is just out of the nigth door tunnel, so the orangs dont move much at all.
    on perths-they do look unnatural. its ironic but they probably have the most active orang colony ive ever seen. the design of the climbing structures purposefully integrates loads of enrichment features, ranging from elevated feeder puzzles to bendy poles, ropes etc. a cash flow problem has stopped the zoo finalising this exhibit-something which i hope is realised in the future...
    from accross the international zoo community interesting feedback has been reported as zoos move their orangs to new digs. many of the older animals, having lived their entire lives in stark, concrete cages, fail to fully adapt to the new, natural style outdoor enclosures, whilst others seem to fully adapt. i guess its like prisoners being released into the community :)
    i would like to see more photos of adelaide zoos orang enclosure. fortunately, whilst their may be differences in artistic or zootistic tastes, its nice to be able to say that all of our regions great apes (or almost all) live in good enclosures.