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Chester Zoo whats so good about chester?

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Coquinguy, 25 May 2007.

  1. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    hey fans of chester zoo
    just wonering if you could fill me i n with why you all reckon cheste ris so fantastic. just reviewing some zoolex presentations, do the photos reflect the exhibits or do they not do it justice?
    spirit of the jaguar looks like a bit of a brick monstrosity (reminds me of the old casson pavillion for elephants at london), but its always hard to tell from photos!
    came so close to actually getting to the zoo myself, instead spent my time stuck looking at roman ruins and drinking in some little old pub. so its up to you guys to fill me in, lol. maybe a comparison with london zoo would help
     
  2. ZooPro

    ZooPro Well-Known Member

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    Gee, thanks glyn. I can feel another 10,000 postings coming along now..... :rolleyes:
     
  3. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

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    well heres number 1 of 10,000
     
  4. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Well its difficulty to say really- to my mind its just a case of Chester has such an extensive collection, particularly Mammals & Birds, but reptiles, amphibia and fish too. As Glyn says above, the only other comparably comprehensive collection in UK would be London. But many of London's exhibits are very old or 'tired' looking, still with lots of concrete and nowadays they're missing many larger animals like Elephants, rhinos, chimps, orangutan, while many of their ungulates are housed at Whipsnade etc. Most other UK zoos are specialist in some form e.g. Howletts/PL have only Mammals, Whipsnade only large species, Bristol is only 10 acres etc. Safari Parks have limited African species.

    So Chester still comes out tops as far as the extent of the collection goes, its on a par with some of the big European collections, which most other UK zoos(apart from ZSL & Whipsnade combined) aren't. Physically its spacious but not so huge you can't see most things in a decently timed visit, there are plenty of trees, waterways, its on completely FLAT ground (always a plus) etc. Agreed The 'Spirit of the Jaguar' is a rather strange building- it looks a bit like a multiplex cinema but the interier exhibits are very good.

    Chester has always been go-ahead(their mottoe is 'always building') and it just seems a very 'lively' place generally. Now they are planning a whole new 'superzoo' with geographical themes. Contrast with London -hemmed into Regent's Park, with several old Victorian listed buildings still being used and with no real expansion possible.

    You should definately visit Chester if you can...:)
     
  5. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    I know many people who work at Chester, and they always seem to have something new to say. Whether it is a new species brought into the collection or a new baby red river hog. The zoo is also good because of it's oppurtunities for the Junior members. There are day trips to the WWT Centres, othe nearby zoos and Safari parks and trips within the zoo: eg Making plaster casts of Animal footprints and working with a keeper for a day.

    I have only been going to the zoo regularly since 2002, so I wasn't there to see the Jag enclosure newly opened. It is brilliant inside, But I agree the outside building is odd. The enclosures inside are brilliant. There are many othere species, such as the butterfly goodied, Which are extinct in the wild. The butterfly Goodied, was actually brought into captivity by the zoos director.
    When I did the zoo summer school last year ( something I am very happily doing again this year) I spent about an hour watching the macaws. There are 3 macaw aviaries near the jaguar house. One houses Hyacinthine Macaws, Illiger's macaws and Blue throated conures, While the other 2 house Azara's agouti, Blue throated Macaw, Red billed curassow and Golden conures. These were only built within the past few years, so it shows that the zoo is constantly redeveloping!!
     
  6. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

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    The blue-throated conures are noqw in the round aviaries. One of the keepers told me a few years ago that they were seperated from the macaws because the conures were bullying the bigger birds.
     
  7. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    Are the round aviaries the ones near the Islands in Danger Complex?
     
  8. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

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    Yes. I'll give my views on what I like and dislike at Chester tomorrow.
     
  9. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    okey dokey.
    despite london zoo's ridiculous numbe rof heritage buildings i didnt think it was that bad actually. in fact, thought it was quite good and can only imagine it getting better, despite the size constraints.
    do you think cheste ris on the same par as say san diego in terms of exhibit design?
     
  10. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    Yes! Every exhibit is constantly being renevated and done up again to look nicer and be better for the animal. An example is the Gemsbok exhibit. There has been a lot of vegetaion plantted around the house. This looks good and is also really good for the animals. Even the turaco avaries that not a lot of people look at have had a lot of thought put into them.
    I was told that the 3 best zoos in the world are San diego(Both of them together), Emmen and Chester.
     
  11. Yassa

    Yassa Well-Known Member

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    If you ask 10 zoo enthusiasts you will get 10 different answers of which zoos are the best in the world. Actually, since everyone has his own likes and dislikes and criterias, there is not ONE answer to this question. There are as many answers as people you ask, and this this is their opinion, everyone is right.
    I don`t know Chester and San Diego, I like Emmen a lot, in fact it is one of my favourite zoos, but they don`t have a great collection and not that many interesting species, so wouldn`t rate them as "one of the top 3 zoos in the world" at least not from the diversity and rarity of the animal collection.
     
  12. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that's true. Also, Zoos change over time- some European Zoos such as West Berlin and Frankfurt used to be top-class, but gradually slip down the scale as other zoos grow/improve more quickly and eclipse them. London used to be a great zoo too in the past, but has gone through numerous well-documented phases, both good and bad. Chester seems to be consistently 'on the up' with new improvements/animals each year.
     
  13. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

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    What I don't like about Chester Zoo.

    The Chester Zoo website does not provide interested people with enough animal news, and quite how it has won awards I can't understand. Cotswold Wildlife Park, Bristol, London, Marwell and Paignton all have much better websites. Also they each provide a newsletter. Chester claims to do this but never sends it out.

    The Chester Zoo magazine is full of fund raising events and conservation work in the wild, but no so much about the actual zoo itself.

    On the 26th May 2007 the Realm of the Red Ape exhibit opened at Chester Zoo. Search for this on the zoo's website and you will search in vain. Need a list of animals housed there? They aren't telling. Look for photographs. None. The same for plans.

    Also I don't agree with exhibits opening at bank holidays. Animals which may have spent many months in peaceful isolation are suddenly thrust into enclosures where hundreds of people look at them, make noises, and unfortunately, sometimes tease them. One one hand the zoo wants all its exhibits to provide seclusion for the inmates, on the other hand it wants to maximize its marketing potential. There is nothing wrong with this, but if it comes down to a choice of making money or the animals wellbeing, then the animals should have priority.

    All new buildings at Chester Zoo have uneven floors instead of the smooth tarmac which used to be the norm. This may cause pain for wheelchair users particularly people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, as a member of my family does. I have mentioned this to the zoo and they don't want to know.

    I don't like the nice neat steel fence posts replaced by wooden poles placed here, there and everywhere. I think it makes the zoo untidy. As does the growing of shrubs in front of aviaries. Some birds are virtually unobservable owing to this policy. I feel that if visitors have paid a lot of money to come to the zoo, they should have a fair chance to see the livestock.

    Now on to the good points.

    Chester Zoo sponsors research all over the world, mostly paid for by visitors to the zoo. Chester Zoo has helped to re-introduce barn owls, harvest mice and water voles into the wild in England. They have helped in projects to reintroduce Pere David's Deer and Scimitar-horned Oryx back into the wild.

    Chester Zoo is about to enter a thrilling development phase, which if implemented will treble the size of the zoo. This will allow dozens of new species to be exhibited. Among mammals discussed within the last few years with a view to showing them at Chester are saiga, gerenuk, European bison, African wild dog, giant forest hog, fossa and giant anteater. Hopefully all will come. There are exciting things happening at Chester and the zoo may become the best in the UK. However Edinburgh, Paignton and Whipsnade are all expanding too, and with a completely new zoo in Bristol supposedly opening within five years Chester may face some stiff competition.

    I had never taken much notice of the Spirit of the Jaguar bulidling until glyn commented on it. I agree, it is a lot like London's elephant house. I think it would have been nice if the jaguar enclosures were smaller and other S.American cats were exhibited. The lawn in front of the building was to have been used for coatis and piranhas were to have been kept inside the house. Neither of these projects were completed.

    The Chester elephant house was a disappointment to me. I thought there would have been more exhibits in the building, there seems to be so much wasted space. The pool for the large fish seems full to capacity. The tree shrew enclosure is good, but a few more housing other small mammals or Asian birds would be nice.

    Finally Yassa has a valid point. Everyone sees a zoo differently. Some parts of Chester Zoo are excellent, others are bad. On the whole I like Chester, but I admit some other collections do things better. I also like Bristol, Edinburgh, London, Marwell and Paignton. Each has its good points and each has its faults. In terms of species kept Chester is the 2nd biggest zoo in the UK, and if invertebrates are discounted Chester has more species than any other UK zoo. Although Chester is my favourite zoo I would place it second best behind London if I had to make a list.
     
  14. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    I love the elephant house. I do agree though that there could be more species in it, But then they would not have as much room for the elephants. That was the whole point of the Exhibit.Where would the other animals go? Th horticulture department would go mad if they took the majority of the plants out. Imagine the look on Mark sparrows face!!
    The coatis have been put in with the spectacled bears and inside the house they would probably think that piranhas would be too dangerous. People would stick their fingers in... Ouchh!!! Butterfly Goodieds are a safe option.
    Penny told me that they had butterflys in the Jag house for A while. They were only in the rainforest section, But they were taken out after they stayed up near the ventilation shafts for a long time.
    Do you know where the Saiga and Giant forest hogs would be coming from? There are very few in zoos. In fact there is only 1 giant forest hog in captivity. It's a female at San diego. She lives with a red river hog that got rejected by her mother.
    Do you think I could ask to do the zoos Website?

    I heard the bristol Plans had been scrapped due to lack of Land and Funding
     
  15. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Where did you hear this from- is it reliable information? Do you think they have really been scrapped completely- or modified- or postponed for a while?

    Interestingly the last proposal for the Hollywood Estate was for an 'envonmental-type park' but nothing came of that either. And apparently a covenant on their purchase of the land says something about their having to exhibit animals there, but they never have...
     
  16. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    I read it somewhere. I was about 2 months back. Sorry I can't remember where. I'll try their website, Which hasn't been updated since their last Gorilla birth.
    Quick news(not enough to start a new thread): Bristol only has one Black lion Tamarin. The other one has died apparently.
     
  17. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Bristol's website has been updated since then. But its the usual stuff not directly related to the animals- I doubt that they would put something on as important as not going ahead with their new zoo though...(perhaps they would?)
     
  18. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

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    According to the 2006 annual report for Bristol the development of Hollywood Towers is very much on.

    The latest news can be found on page 20
     
  19. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    i rate edinburgh, london, taronga (sydney) and perth as my overall favourite zoos.
    from the photos some of the inside exhibits at chester look terrible. the jaguar 'savannah', the fake, fake logs for the shrews inside the elphant house, the pool for the freshwater fish in the jaguar exhibit. the designers should be striving harder to create authenticity.
    london zoo managed to create what i feel is a pretty stunning indoor replication of the komodo landscape. im sure chester could do the same. barcelona zoo has a stunning indoor bird house which replicates a borad range of habitats superbly. again, chester would do well to follow their example.
    everyone has their own opinions, which i respect, but personally im all for wild vegetation spilling on to paths and uneven fences-if its an immersion themed exhibit. theres a difference between an exhibit thats meant to look rustic and wild, and a zoo thats falling to pieces.
    on vegetation in front of exhibits etc. this is similar to the argument on a german zoo's madagascan exhibit. there should be a compromise between conflicting needs, but at the end of the day an exhibit which is COMPLETELY overgrown is not much good. if the animals need privacy that much for conservation breeding then either the zoo goers should be fully informed or the animals moved off-exhibit. its a publicity thing in a way.
     
  20. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    Chester has the land to make these wonderful exhibis, But it is working on other projects. The aquarium is Tremendously out of Date and is being re-done.
    It also has a very good bird area; the tropical realm. It may not look like a tropical rainforest, but the birds here breed very well and shouldn't zoos strive for breding sucess over the look of the exhibit.
    I disagree about the tree shrew exhibit. I think it is very nice apart from the little shelf at the front. The tree shrews tend to hide down there.
    The konodo dragon house at Chester is also wonderful. I believe london based theirs on it. There are heated rocks at the front of the enclosure and recently, a large flock of Java sparrows has been added in. No deaths so far that were caused by the dragons!!!
    I like edinburgh, I just wish that they had more birds. Thats why I rate san diego, Chester and Jersey my Favourite zoos. I used to have blackbrook on my list but then they moved their lesser adjutant and swapped their yellow billed storks for black storks.

    I agree though Glyn, It is all down to opinion.