Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Cat-Man, 23 Nov 2009.
\\\as part of my Zooquest Prodject, we have to design a good zoo, so what makes one?///
Well, in my opinion. It's not so much what animals they have, more about how they have them. Welfare standards are key in making a zoo good or not. There are a few out there whose standards aren't up to scratch and are well known for it.
I think, also having well designed exhibits is important. To be able to balance the visitor needs with the animal needs is important so to have an enclosure that allows good viewing, but also lots of places for the animal to have some privacy, means that the exhibit has been well thought out and designed.
Also, good facilities are important. If the café is rubbish, and the toilets are awful, then it sort of ruins a zoo which is good in other aspects.
Another good thing of course is their participation in the 'modern' roles of a zoo. That doesn't mean putting tigers back in the wild of course, but running/funding conservation projects both at home and abroad and accomplishing the education role through signage, talks and interpretation to hopefully the odd zoologist/keeper/conservationist of the future.
A zoo, which is keeping animals behind the scenes in the same conditions like the animals in the visitor area, and a zoo, who is building exhibits for ANIMALS, not for visitors.
Or . . . a zoo which builds exhibits for animals AND visitors, the two are not mutually exclusive and should not be considered such. For example, provide an animal with lots of enrichment and not only will the animal have something fun to do, but the visitors will have something fun to watch as well.
A zoo that is good for both people and animals alike; I love watching enriched animals! Also a zoo that provides plenty of privacy for animals. Education is another biggie.
I want to feel transported when I enter a zoo. I not only want to see animals obviously well-cared for, I also want to feel like I'm a part of something greater than myself. I want to see beautiful grounds with a lot of greenery. I also want information and lots of it because I'm a primate and I'm curious.
I would like reasonably good food served. If I'm going to have breakfast or lunch at the zoo, I would like to get something that's healthy and tasty. I want to see recycling programs at zoos. Wildlife conservation programs are icing on the cake (I just had dinner and tomorrow is Thanksgiving, the one day in the year when all Americans eat basically the same thing. But, I digress.).
I would also like to be able to view some animals indoors in case of inclement weather. I would like to be able to sometimes sit down and observe animals. I would like zoo staff/volunteers available to answer questions.
Broadly speaking I would say these are the things that makes a good zoo to me:
1) somewhere that inspires me
2) somewhere that exites me
3) somehwere I am engaged and feel connected
4) somehwere I feel happy and comfortable.
For me a good zoo will generally include the following:
1. Nice and natural (and clean!) surroundings.
2. Good sized and well planted/landscaped exhibits.
3. Good enclosure design so visitors can easily view/photograph animals within.
4. Having what I call 'emergency enclosures'.*
5. To not be afraid to spend a bit of money on building works/acquiring animals etc.
6. A good and unconfusing map!
7. It doesnt really matter what animals a zoo has (although we all have animals we like and dont like seeing!) it's how they're kept.
8. Good breeding records.
9. Animal enrichment is paramount!
*For example. Banham Zoo has recntly acquired a male Emu. This made the female Emu start acting aggresively and she kept standing on the Black Swan's tail. The Black Swan had to be moved to another area of the Zoo. An 'emergency enclosure' is an enclosure that the public can view but is versatile in what species can be kept there and when they can be kept there.
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