Join our zoo community

Zoo design

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Nigel, 22 Mar 2006.

  1. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Jan 2004
    Posts:
    736
    Location:
    Wellington , New Zealand
    Picking up from another thread/s , is the issue of Singapore Zoo coming over to design parts of Australia Zoo .
    I think this is great for Australia zoo , and I know that Steve will make sure that Australia Zoo will live up to its name as being a top notch zoo in world zoo circles .
    However , it is one thing to design a great zoo , but its another for the zoo to wreck the whole idea , with other agendas .

    I will tell you of the example that I am thinking about ; Seoul Grand Zoo

    It is a large zoo in area , about 2 1/2 times the size of Taronga zoo . They recommend that you take the chairlift up to the top , and walk back down to the entrance/exit . From the chairlift , it looks sort of OK .
    But then take a closer look . There is a limit as to how many animals you can put into the worlds best designed enclosure . Any zoo with any sense does not put 125 baboons into a quarter acre enclosure , and expect reasonable degree of natural behaviour . Nor would you put 49 zebra in an enclosure of the same size .
    This is the sort of thing that Seoul Grand Zoo has done . The indoor enclosures reeked big time -- there was inadequate ventilation in all of them
    There was inadequate hiding places for the animals to escape from the public noise ( and korean folk think that if you shout loud enough to an animal , it will preform for them )

    So even though on paper , the plans look good , a well planned zoo can have the potential for less than ideal .
     
  2. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Nov 2004
    Posts:
    2,449
    Location:
    melbourne, victoria, australia
    fennecs at melbourne...

    i think what must happen alot is that (as Zoo_Boy has mentioned was the case with our much talked about dora) the designers of zoo exhibits either dont research the animals behaviour or habitat well enough and or don't listen to advice from the keepers. often big design firms are in charge and itt's possible that they don't always have a good knowledge of animals and are really just looking at doing something clever for visitors.

    melbourne constructed a new fennec foox exhibit a year or so ago. i saw it just befor it was finished. i was with a friend who also has very good knowledge about animals and the two of us commented on how it was far too small (even for tiny fennecs) and that the walls looked small enough for the foxes to jump out of. apparently thats exactly what they did! the enclosure was also in full sun with sand that raised to a rediculously hot temperature, and even the little saharan foxes couldn't be bothered with it.

    it has since been re-landscaped and houses a second meerkat group.
     
  3. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Jan 2004
    Posts:
    736
    Location:
    Wellington , New Zealand
    Enclosure design at Wellington Zoo

    I have been reliably informed that for numerous new enclosures at Wellington Zoo , the keepers were the last people that were asked for design advice . The design team dealt almost solely with Zoo Management .
    Every time there was 11th hour changes when the keepers realised what actually was being designed for the animals that they care for , and know better than anyone else , and changes had to be hurredly made .

    The keepers know the individual idiosyncresies of each animal , and some of these can be quite marked . ( for whatever reason )

    a classic example was Cairo the camel -- he would not have been happy if he was in an enclosures designed 100% for camels ( As far as he was concerned , he wasnt one . He often thought he was human )
     
  4. MARK

    MARK Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 May 2005
    Posts:
    3,509
    Location:
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    This is a shame when keepers are not even asked for any input into the design of new exhibits, I do know that in San Diego zoo the keepers were consulted before they designed and contruction of their asain forest exhibit, who would know better about the animals than the people who care for them everyday?, this type of thinking is really common with a lot of management even in goverment levels.
     
  5. MARK

    MARK Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 May 2005
    Posts:
    3,509
    Location:
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    Ya, Zoo_Boy I was meaning the keepers at Wellington zoo, as for the keepers at Dubbo its pretty pointless asking them for input and then not listen.
     
  6. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Nov 2004
    Posts:
    2,449
    Location:
    melbourne, victoria, australia
    one of the other things i'm really into is plants. i love looking at all the plants when i'm in an immersion exhibit. however, with the melbourne african rainforest for example, as i have gotten older and (at least i would like to think) more knowledgeable, i have noticed just how many plants are actually 'simulator' species from asia, australia and even south america. african rainforest plants (and ones that would grow in a melbourne climate) are not anywhere as easy to source in australia as tropical south american and asian species, but nonetheless there are plenty of central african plants available at the nursery that i have never seen in the melbourne exhibit.

    i enjoy that whole zoological/botanical mix and love looking at the exotic plants just as much as i enjoy the animals.

    even better is when the design team have taken into account the type of topography of the native habitat and tried to mimick that as well. an eroded mud bank looks so much more authentic in a rainforest than yet another grey "rock wall"....

    i don't think i saw so much as a pebble the whole time i was in the amazon!
     
    Last edited: 3 Apr 2006
  7. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2005
    Posts:
    1,765
    Location:
    australia
    hey guys... just on the asian wetlands exhibit at dubbo with the indian rhino...
    at a cost of $2.85 million, and its already closed. from what i could make of it it has been constructed with pond liner beneath the moat and has sprung a leak. for those of you who have not seen the exhibit, its a pretty big water feature and the overflow from that moat feeds all the surrounding rice paddies and feeder pools.
    possibly an overlook on the design team's behalf??? other big design faults ive witnessed over the years have included the cliff face in creatures of the wollemi collapsing and london's zoo superb komodo dragon enclosure in which the female died after she tried to climb a mud bank, both problems ocurring shortly after opening
     
  8. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Nov 2004
    Posts:
    2,449
    Location:
    melbourne, victoria, australia
    yeah, its sounds like the enclosure suffers a bit from design overkill. werribee contains its rhinos not with thick steel poles or wooden pillers or stone walls - is just uses electric fencing. the same fencing that keeps in the giraffe, zebra and all the other animals at the zoo. sure they have other holding yards with crush's etc, but the main savannah holds a herd of white rhino with a simple mesh fence with electric wires. if i was designing a indian rhino habitat i would just use the same, in a large paddock, with a nice deep water moat at the front for the rhino to swim in. thats it. thats the whole beauty of open range zoos. their open and simple.
     
  9. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Jan 2004
    Posts:
    736
    Location:
    Wellington , New Zealand
    enclosure design

    Hey Jai ,
    can you go into your website and dig out that photo of the (new) baboon enclosure at Wellington Zoo -- with all the rocks and tree trunks etc scattered all over the hillside ?

    I will have to say that despite the zoo being chronically short of $$s , this is one of the better designed enclosures that I have seen anywhere .

    The old baboon enclosure was an old style steel bar 8 x 8 m sq. cage , which is a little small considering that there are now over 20 baboons at the zoo ! The baboons really enjoy the space now !
     
  10. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Nov 2004
    Posts:
    2,449
    Location:
    melbourne, victoria, australia
    baboons..

    nigel,
    melbournes baboon enclosure is just as bad as the what i have seen of the photos (on jason's website) you took of the old one at wellington. werribee has a very large breeding group of vervet guenons and i have often wondered why the zoo didn't just relocate the baboons there instead of bringing in vervets. i'm not sure where thy got them from, but they are pure of a particular subspecies and i'm guessing they where imported. the baboons at melb have been divided into two groups and lots of peastraw, ropes, and browsing buckets are provided with hidden food items. still they really badly need a new enclosure. a keeper once mentioned the possibility of them moving into the old elephant exhibit but that hasn't happened. i have watched a program about an african drill rehab center that just used wire fencing with steel sheets bolted to the top to stop the baboons from climbing over. the same thing worked for melbournes tree kangaroos and from your photos maybe wellington's new baboon exhibit as well. you would think it would be an effective and cheap way of building and even temporary exhibit for the baboons out at werribee. they are not really appreciated in their current exhibit at melbourne. theres alot of talk of melbourne zoo relocating all of its african savannah animals to the open range zoo.
     
  11. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Jan 2004
    Posts:
    736
    Location:
    Wellington , New Zealand
    baboon enclosure

    admittedly Wellington Zoo made the best use of a very steep patch of land near the back of the zoo , which would have been very difficult and costly to use for
    many other purposes .The cost would have been (relatively ) minimal. It is alot steeper than what my photo actually looks .
    The front part of the enclosure is a very thick slab of glass , with signs telling people how NOT to appear to be agressive ( in baboon thought )

    Wellington Zoo is now tossing around ideas about what to do next -- the baboons have had a much better than expected breeding , and although the enclosure is big enough for two groups to ( sort of ) co exist in reasonable harmony , it wont be big enough for too many more baboons .

    The chimpanzee enclosure is being modified/enlarged , but not large enough in my humble opinion . ( I think it needs to be doubled , due to the huge number of chimps )

    I agree with Patrick that vegetation can certainly add character to zoo exhibits , as well as making a zoo appear to be a pleasant place . Wellington is at last working towards this ( not before time )
     
  12. Zooish

    Zooish Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Sep 2005
    Posts:
    1,126
    Location:
    Sunny Singapore
    Baboons breed at a frightening speed. Singapore zoo's original troop of 50+ hamadryas baboons increased their population to over 80 in a couple of years.
    Now population control measures are in place to cap the number at around 80 animals. And all 80 belong to one troop, although seperate harems are obvious.

    We also use extensive glass walls for viewing and usually the young baboons like to intimidate the visitors by pouncing on the glass. The adult males are surprisingly submissive towards humans - as seen in their behaviour (lip-smacking, presenting their butts).
     
  13. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Jan 2004
    Posts:
    736
    Location:
    Wellington , New Zealand
    Photos of various zoo enclosures

    http://www.porticogroup.com/index.html

    If you go into this website , select "projects"
    select " zoos & aquiria"
    select " more of our work" ( at the bottom of the page ) there is a slide show of various zoo enclosure designs .

    Auckland Zoo is slide numbers 2 ,3 ,4 . I like their shot of slide 4 -- I have tried to get it myself , but I cannot fit the whole scene in my viewfinder !
    The shacks contain people , not animals .
    There is also a taronga Park zoo master plan on slide 46 , but I am not sure how to enlarge it . ( My IT skills are real poor ) Maybe one of you IT whizz's could get a good shot of it ?
    Anyway , I hope that you get to see the photos on this site .