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Roger Williams Park Zoo Redesigning the Elephant Exhibit

Discussion in 'United States' started by wensleydale, 31 May 2015.

  1. wensleydale

    wensleydale Well-Known Member

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    Lets say that hypothetically you could redo the Elephant Exhibit at Roger Williams. What would you do? Expand the Elephant house (I would after last winter, yuck)? Add a new yard? New animals, say add a younger female(s) or a bull or switch from females to bulls? Would you change to location within the zoo or add a corridor so they could go to another enclosure in another area if they felt like it? Get rid of another exhibit to expand the yard or the house? Add a sound barrier? Also, would you advertise them more or make them more of a focal point of the zoo?
     
  2. Gulo gulo

    Gulo gulo Well-Known Member

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    Can I play? I'd remove Giraffes all together or to another area in the Zoo. Either Bison or Pronghorn. The Giraffe yard would become a communal room after walls built with skylights and retractable roof. The older parts like Giraffe stalls/day room and concrete day room for elephants would become deep, sand floors. There would be two shower basins on either side the cows could operate. I would extend the yard towards Wild Dog, making it a flex area combined with Zebra. This would be an area to let them cross over to Barbary Sheep to wait and use the larger yard. So there's no waiting time, the Butterfly house would be another waiting area. This way can move multiple elephants at once and have options. Where the kids area resides is nice and long. It goes right some. Here would be a Bull Barn. It's the area as you exit the Wetlands area. Building takes up a decent portion of this area. Multiple stalls. A room for winter with sand. No entrance into this building, but glass like Rosamond Gifford. You can just see the Bull. While the other Bull has access to stalls and off-show area outback. The yard is big but has flexibility to be split in two or opened as one yard. The waiting areas allow Bulls and Cows to wait and move without contact. Visitor viewing for the Bull area is a boardwalk in the pond set back some as there's cabling in the water to let the elephants bathe/swim. This offers maximum flexibility and housing options. Sure, they lose dog, sheep, zebra and wildebeest. There ars other areas of the Zoo that lack (North America). The sound from 95 is not the Zoos problem. It is actually Highway Dept as it is technically not on Zoo Property as there's zoo access road. Train tracks. 95.
     
  3. ZooElephantsMan

    ZooElephantsMan Well-Known Member

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    I thought about this very carefully and here is my idea. This is about what would happen after the master plan they just announced is finished. Everything would be done in phases like their master plan:

    STEP 1: THE BARN

    I agree with Gulo Gulo, move the giraffes to somewhere else. Maybe to where the colobus monkeys are supposed to go and have them take away some space from where bighorn sheep will go if any of that exhibit is flat. Have a elevated path walkway or bridge or something going across instead of that winding path that they have planned right now. They can build a giraffe barn adjacent to the administration building.

    Expand the barn to old giraffe yard for more winter space. I would definitely make the barn bigger and put some way for the elephants to self-bathe in the barn, whether that be a shower they operate, or a pool like the elephant community center at the national zoo. Let in some natural light also, and maybe put some plants in a out of reach area for ambience. The barn is currently very badly lit.

    STEP 2: THE YARD

    Expand the yard to like 1.5 or 2 acres. Whatever is easiest available. Maybe don't have penguins and extend the cheetah exhibit to where the penguins are, and extend the elephant area some of where cheetah would of been, so they can keep cheetahs.

    STEP 3: A BULL (or two- maybe brothers?)

    Bull Yard and Barn. Trying to be creative and think of a different spot for the bull other than what Gulo-Gulo said, but I don't know.

    Therefore, the bull would take up some of the kids space on the wetlands trail.

    WARNING- THE REST OF THIS IS PROBABLY CONFUSING AND OVERCOMPLICATED. PLEASE CRITICIZE IT (it also would only really need if the cows could breed):

    The bull yard would include the african habitat on the master plan that will most likely include baboons. I think they might be able to have baboons and elephants in the same exhibit. It would work better for the baboons to be with the cows. I would hate to get rid of any more animals. The bulls would have a bridge to go across to the cow yard at the african habitat (the exhibit thats supposed to have baboons I mentioned earlier) area. The guest path could hopefully go down below the bridge.

    The path for visitors that currently is in the way of having a bull exhibit from preschool play area to african habitat would be moved so it hugs to forest and education building on the side.

    THE CONFUSING PART IS NOW OVER

    The last thing I would change is acknowledge the elephants more, and advertise them more. I would change the name of the area from Fabric of Africa to something like Elephant Adventure. Other smaller zoos, acknowledge how lucky they are to have some of their rarer animals, like Franklin Park Zoo knows (and says) how lucky they are for a small zoo like them to have Gorillas. Sure, Gorillas area at every big zoo in the country, but great apes aren't too common for zoos in that situation.

    If RWPZ had a lot more space, (and no giant wetlands area in the middle of the zoo) then I would say a lot of other things, like treks, and stuff to ensure breeding, but that will never be possible at this zoo. Ever. Other people say things like "Oh this zoo will always have financial problems", but those things are possible to overcome. This space issue is not.

    The whole bull situation is really iffy, it would be a lot more reasonable if they had room for another female to breed with, or if the females were all younger. It would be amazing if this zoo had more space. It is already the best in new england, but I think that FPZ eventually will rise up from its current shadows (in a long time, but still), and take over that position. FPZ has a 70 acre park, compared to RWPZ with 40 acres, and that includes the wetlands, so its more like they can use 25 (25 is an estimation) acres total.

    Gulo Gulo, for your design, would the cows and bulls get any tactile contact at all, or be able to see each other, or would they only hear each other? I couldn't really tell from your description.
     
  4. ZooElephantsMan

    ZooElephantsMan Well-Known Member

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    Wensleydale I want to know what you idea for the optimal exhibit is
     
  5. Gulo gulo

    Gulo gulo Well-Known Member

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    They can smell, see and hear each other. If the females allowed the Bull(s) to interact and Bull(s) were fine, sure. They could mix it up. I was just thinking management-wise to check off most boxes and take the load off by offerring housing for both sexes. The waiting/crossing areas allow for safe passage with no contact and the flexibility of the Bull(s) yards and expanded yard where dog and zebra are. Using the sheep exhibit was just a larger area than the other queue area for feisty animals that don't like confined passage. This idea allows acreage of yards and multiple flexibility. The cows have the pool in the existing yard and opening up the use of the pond is something different. While the cabling blocks them from visitors there's also enough distance to prevent a trunk tug of war if the Bull(s) use that area and exhibit is separated. Who knows. Maybe I'll go crazy and take some surplus male hippo to mix it up on the Bull(s) side. Not mixed with the elephants, but separate. If the eles were in for the night, during the halloween or night events walking the boardwalk and seeing the glowing eyes of hippo in the water or on land would be an experience.
     
  6. wensleydale

    wensleydale Well-Known Member

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    Elephants aren't my forte so I don't have one really. I was just thinking that after last winter they might benefit from having more indoor space, I would not be surprised if they were not able to go out for weeks if not months at a time due to the weather, at the very least outdoor time must have been severely curtailed. I hope they enjoyed having a warm December and early January because they can't have seen much of their yard from mid January onward. I also think that any animal should have the option of being off exhibit or at least out of view when they feel like it. I just know I never want them to get rid of Zebras, any plan for fancying up the Elephants must spare the Zebra exhibit as far as I am concerned. I do love members of the Horse family.
     
  7. Gulo gulo

    Gulo gulo Well-Known Member

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    Fine. Zebra can live with Giraffe, just not the Plains girls now. Maybe Grevy's or other TAG/SSP choice. The girls were ground down for a fresh take on Nebraska Horseloaf. :p
     
  8. ZooElephantsMan

    ZooElephantsMan Well-Known Member

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    I am going to change my plan for what I said before. Instead of getting a bull area, I would instead expand the elephant yard to the cheetahs, and move the cheetahs across to where the bulls would of gone, in the kids play area. That also gives room for a cheetah run, but behind the exhibits. They also could maybe get a 4th cow.

    A hippo exhibit with the glowing eyes would be fantastic!
     
  9. wensleydale

    wensleydale Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone know how much outdoor time the Elephants did get during the winter this year? Are they definitely not allowed out ever when the weather is below 40 degrees or can they go out for brief periods? Granted Providence is next to the ocean and probably saw warmer weather than I did inland but they can't have exactly been balmy.
     
  10. ZooElephantsMan

    ZooElephantsMan Well-Known Member

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    Ive seen them out at 38 degrees fahrenheit.

    Thats not too low though.
     
  11. wensleydale

    wensleydale Well-Known Member

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    I actually spent last winter wondering if designing some kind of Elephant blanket (in the same spirit as a horse blanket) maybe with booties or some kind of trunk glove/muffler would be out of the question for them. According to the keepers they hand their restraints to the keepers at bath time, maybe they would hand the blankets to the keepers on days they needed them. Except you would probably need a giant washing machine for them. Maybe they would button or zip together and come apart to pieces about the size of a bed sheet for ease in washing.

    Definitely an expansion to the barn would be on my improvements list. they would have at least an acre under the roof. We have MIT just up the road, surely there is some genius who could design an inexpensive structure that could be built without moving them and kept warm (or cool depending on the season) relatively inexpensively.
     
  12. ZooElephantsMan

    ZooElephantsMan Well-Known Member

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    Do you think the elephants would tolerate people putting clothes on them? I know some elephants wear boots as therapy for foot problems.
     
  13. wensleydale

    wensleydale Well-Known Member

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    They tolerate much more uncomfortable things, these blankets would be made of fleece or some other soft material and would only be worn when its cold out. And they would only be worn voluntarily (like you could force them). At the very least ripping them up would provide some enrichment.