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Themed Zoos?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by patrick, 4 May 2006.

  1. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    i know this one is bound to become a little controversial but i am interested to see how other members of the forum feel about this...

    what if your local city zoo had no giraffes or zebra or lions? what if it was a zoo just for animals of the forest. in contrast to this your states open range zoo would be just for grasslands animals. both zoos would focus on australasia, africa, asia and south america - but would display very different animals...

    likewise each zoo would present a strong message of conservation and an ongoing theme about either forest or grassland ecology.

    of course many species would be seen at both zoos - but only species that are found in both habitats.

    the reason i am bringing this up is because unlike dubbo - werribee is an exclusively grassland themed zoo. the zoo features displays such as the "savannah discovery centre" that teaches the comparisons between the local grasslands of the area and the rich plains of africa. and it looks as though zoos victoria is toying with the idea of its two zoos holding exotics, being very much divided in theme.

    i actually like the strong theme of werribee, and i find that in a way its more educational an experience - though i look forward to the day when it has substantial exhibits for the grasslands of south america and asia as well.

    in a way it could work. especially in the case of adelaide/monarto and melbourne/werribee who are both located within a 45 minute drive from the city.

    so take your pick kids - we can go to the zoo and see -

    rhino, giraffe, lions and baboons

    or

    gorillas, elephants, jaguars and bears......

    what do you guys think?
     
    Last edited: 4 May 2006
  2. Zooish

    Zooish Well-Known Member

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    While such habitat-specific zoos might appeal to us zoo enthusiasts, IMO i believe the general zoo-goer would not appreciate it too much.

    Many people see zoos as a convenient place to see a large and varied collection of animals at a single place. The idea of having to travel to different zoos just to see tigers at one (forest-themed), lions (savanna themed) at another wouldn't go down well with most people. Variety of animals is highly rated among the average visitors.

    Already if a particular zoo lacked a certain species of mega-fauna (lion, tiger, elephant, giraffe, zebra..) , the visitors will notice it and raise it as an issue.

    Usually, open range zoos have fewer visitors than 'traditional' zoos. Like san diego wild animal park, which has a much lower attendence than san diego zoo. Is this the case in Oz? San diego WAP has already been forced to incorporate exhibits other than hoofstock fields in a bid to attract more visitors.
     
  3. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    what to expect?....

    the situation in australia is exactly the same. the open-range zoos have far fewer visitors that the city zoos and have also been expanding the non-ungulate contingent in a bid for more variety. werribee, as fantastic as it is, is really just a "quick visit" sort of a place. you can see every animal at the zoo in about 2 hours.

    likewise melbourne recently moved its lion pride to a newly built lion mega-exhibit called lions on the edge at werribee. moving all the lions to werribee was considered, and there was talk of it in the newspapers. but in the end it chose to keep some of the young males at melbourne to ensure there were still residents in the zoo's lion park - not wanting to dissapoint visitors.

    but there are plenty of examples of zoos that don't hold a species that one would expect - adelaide for example have no elephants, gorillas (visitors aside) or rhino.

    i wonder if its attendance (taking into account its smaller population) is any lower than melbourne zoo?

    interestingly, i have never heard anybody complain that there are no rhino at melbourne. everyone knows you go to werribee for that. but it may very well be because in living memory melbourne has never housed rhino. therfore the public don't expect it.

    they are very valid points that you raise zooish. i agree that i think visitors will immediately notice and complain if the giraffes departed melbourne tomorrow. in fact i know that i would for one, miss them.

    however in effect what i am wondering is this - initial complaints from visitors aside, once they accept that they can't see a specific animal at their city zoo, will they actually attend the zoo any less?
     
  4. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

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    well adlaide has no giraffe either and it has caused much controversy, i belive yes themed zoos, ie forest, but there has to be a balance as well, zoos neeed giraffe etc, to bring in the cash, and in turn this supports our breeding and in-situ programs.
     
  5. ZYBen

    ZYBen Well-Known Member

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    No giraffe at the moment and they are going to only be there when they are very young, like after they are weaned to 3 years

    so crate training for giraffes as it goes, takes a long long time.

    And Adelaides Master plan, wants it to be all rainforest
     
  6. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

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    Themed Zoos

    The public basically go to the zoo if they want a " day out " somewhere , or if they want to see some ( usually exotic ) animals .
    They usually dont care too much if the zoo has a theme or not , just so long they can see some animals .

    To me , all decent zoos have a part to play . My main issue is ; do they care about the animals they have ?
    This is more than just food and medicine . Are the enclosures suitable ? Is the zoo active in breeding prgramme/s ? Are they forward looking ? Do they have plans to upgrade enclosures on regular basis ? Are the animals concerns more important than human concerns ?

    So as much as I agree that the animals that need heaps of room ( elephants etc ) are better placed at Open Range Zoos , City zoos with a general collection still have a valid part to play , if they are a decent sort of zoo .
    I wish that there is another open range zoo in the North Island of NZ , and that Brisbane and Hobart will eventually get a decent city zoo , and all the states in Aust. will have at least one open range zoo
     
  7. ZYBen

    ZYBen Well-Known Member

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    yeah are there even any Zoos (or exotics) is Tasmania?
     
  8. zoo newbie

    zoo newbie New Member

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    A Different Theme Applied to Zoos

    I agree with both Nigel and Zooish.

    I don't think that forest theme or grassland theme zoos will work. When people hear the word Zoo, they think of a menagery of Lions, Elephants, Tigers, Bears...etc

    Maybe rather than concentrating on having a forest animal and grassland animal type zoos, they should concentrate on city zoos being utlised for for displaying animals, creating an interest in exotic animals and giving the public they "day out", with presentaions and close-up encounters...While open range zoos should concentrate on breeding animals (in-situ and ex-situ programs), conservation and education?

    The public can still see the small examples of mega-fauna in these city zoos, but if they want to see that pride of 17 lions, that pair White-faced Gibbons swingging through a forrest canopy with an infant or that newly born Giraffe calf, then they will have to travel to an open range zoo. I think in these instances both city and open range zoo will draw the crowds they need while the animals will benifiting also (at the end of the day the animals can be moved from one zoo to another as well).

    Maybe if zoos take this particular road then all states may start dividing into two separate instituions.

    What does everyone think??

    Zoo Newbie
     
  9. MARK

    MARK Well-Known Member

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    Yes i feel you have got a real strong case here, the open range zoos would be better focusing on the mega species, with the smaller city zoos focusing on the smaller endangered species. I feel many people would be willing to make a trip to an open range zoo to see the large animals roaming in bigger area exhibits and as we know there are better breeding results with the larger game animals as well.
     
  10. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    i don't believe tasmanina has any zoos that display non-native species however there is a colony of japanese macaques in (i think the botanical gardens - can't quite remember) hobart that where donated by its sister city in japan. unfortunately it was discovered that the monkeys carried the herpes B virus - unique to macaque species if transmitted to humans it is deadly. the threat of a controversy discouraged the council from euthanising the primates, instead it was decided to change the methods of care for the primates to minimise human/monkey contact (and thus the threat of disease).

    on the subject of themed zoos however, i have always thought hobart would be an ideal location for a small "mountain zoo" that specialised in animals that lived in temperate alpine habitats. i'm thinking red pandas, tahr, japanese macaques, brown bears, snow leopards and others ....

    sometimes it is the theme of a zoo that sets it apart and encourages people to visit. like the jurong bird park and the singapore night zoo. visitors might skip yet another "zoo" when visiting hobart, but could be lured by the prospect of visiting a "mountain zoo" up in the hills...
     
  11. Zooish

    Zooish Well-Known Member

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    You have a point there patrick, themed zoos stand out from the rest, provided that the theme is a strong and unique one.

    There are maybe less than 10 dedicated bird parks in the world, and there are 3 "true" night zoos (not including those zoos which run night tours in the summer), so both the bird park and night safari hold a high level of uniqueness. A few years back, Singapore zoo actually toyed with the idea of dropping the name 'zoo' completely and was to be renamed 'Wild Places' to raise its uniqueness. But public feedback was really negative, sentimentality won over and the name singapore zoo was retained.

    Disney's Animal Kingdom also set itself apart by fusing a zoo/safari park with a theme park. Mega-zoos may be the way to go in the future - comprising traditional zoo elements, with open-range areas, theme park-style rides and shows, plus accomodation. They become a destination in itself. Of course they require huge amounts of money and land to build and operate so it can't work everywhere.
     
  12. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

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    Themed zoos

    There are also collections that specialise in native fauna to that country
    ( Currimbin and Healesville immediately come to mind ) and then there are specialist collections that display one type of animal . The best one I have come across to date would be Jurong Bird Park in Singapore . There is nothing there except birds , but it is a fantastic "zoo"

    Again , these also have a part to play in conservation , and so long as they fit into my definition of decent zoos , I have no problem with these specialist collections . They usually will be the best sources of knowledge for the types of animals that they are keeping .
    My personal views of a particular Queenslander aside , but I wouldnt be surprised if he was the number one authority on salties . Why ? Because until recently , he has specialised with reptiles . And I bet there wouldnt be too much that the head keeper at Jurong Bird Park wouldnt know about birds , either .