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Zoo for Albany

Discussion in 'Fantasy Zoos' started by elefante, 17 Jan 2016.

  1. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member

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    Capital Zoo

    The Capital Zoo is in the Albany metro area of New York. This zoo focuses mostly on cold weather species, although there are a few ABC species to keep the visitors happy. I chose this area as there have been discussions about it lacking a zoo. Every effort has been made to house species that are either being bred according to AZA Taxon Advisory Groups or could reasonably be sourced.

    Wild New York

    At the entrance to the zoo is an exhibit dedicated to native wildlife of New York. The first two exhibits are of white-tailed deer and black bears. These animals are orphaned wildlife that cannot be released into the wild. The deer are contained in a wooded area with a naturalistic creek flowing through it. Plenty of trees and open areas mimic their natural habitat. The black bears are separated from the white-tailed deer by a system of moats, although it appears the habitat is contiguous. The bears’ habitat contains simulated beehives that often contain enrichment items. Next to the bears’ exhibit is a netted aviary containing non-releasable bald eagles. These birds also have the naturalistic creek and several trees. Across from the Eagles is a similar enclosure for non-releasable red-tailed hawks. Keepers periodically have demonstrations with the birds. Next to the hawk exhibit is small loop with native plants designed to attract butterflies. Bird and squirrel feeders are also present. Signs inform visitors of what they might see. The visitor then enters the indoor portion of Wild New York. The first section contains exhibits where the animals are outside behind glass while the visitors are inside. The first spacious exhibit contains river otters. This is the type of otter exhibit that is often present in zoos. Ample underwater viewing is present as well as viewing on land. The next exhibit, with a similar design is for mink. This one is nearly identical to the otter exhibit with underwater viewing. Adjacent to the mink exhibit is a similarly-designed muskrat exhibit. All of these mimic a stream side Adirondack habitat. The remaining two exhibits on this side of The Adirondacks are forested exhibits containing martens and fishers. Within this exhibit are numerous graphics explaining the history of the region as well as threats. Across the hall are additional exhibits resembling the the forested region. These are behind glass and are designed in a similar indoor/outdoor plan like those previously described. These forested exhibits contain bobcats, gray foxes, snowshoe hares, porcupines, and a small exhibit for long-tailed weasels. A visitor who comes in the summer and winter notes the differences in coat color of the hares and weasels. The visitor then enters an indoor reptile exhibit. This is set up to look like a forested region and contains numerous terrariums. Terrariums housing copperheads, timber rattlesnakes, black rat snakes, eastern hog nose snakes, eastern ribbon snakes, northern fence lizards, five lined skinks, northern coal skinks, eastern tiger salamanders, eastern newts, and eastern hellbenders. In the center are two large ponds. One contains snapping turtles and eastern diamondback terrapins. In another are bog, Blanding’s, eastern mud, and spotted turtles. Natural light comes in through skylights in the exhibit. A door leads into the next exhibit, which contains introduced species to New York. This is a mixed open and woodland exhibit. It contains nutria in a large pond that cannot be approached by visitors. Eurasian collared doves, monk parakeet, cattle egrets, Hungarian partridges, and ringneck pheasants roam freely and can approach the visitor. A terrarium contains Italian wall lizards. This leads to the last indoor portion of the exhibit, the nocturnal one. The entrance contains a riverside exhibit with terrariums containing leopard frogs, American toads, spring peepers, northern cricket frogs, mink frogs, gray tree frogs, and wood frogs. In the center is a large pond containing bullfrogs. A lucky visitor might hear a pleasant chorus. A larger room contains other nocturnal species. In the center is a series of netted aviaries containing great horned owls, barred owls, eastern screech owls, and northern saw-whet owls. These birds are injured and non-releasable. Periodically keepers conduct talks about the birds. Surrounding the aviary is a pond containing beavers and a lodge with a window. Behind glass are exhibits for striped skunks, raccoons, opossums, and flying squirrels. The visitor leaves the nocturnal exhibit for the final enclosure in the Wild New York complex. This exhibit is a netted aviary. In this exhibit are Canada geese, mallards, wood ducks, redhead ducks, blue-winged teals, green-winged teals, canvasback ducks, and mergansers. This may change periodically as these birds are non-releasable birds. This area is set up as an open woodland with a slow moving creek that does not freeze, allowing the birds year round access to water. Ruffed grouse, spruce grouse, and bobwhite quail freely roam this aviary.

    The Great North

    The Great North is an area dedicated to species found north of the 45th parallel. Several smaller complexes are present in this and are named according to their geographic area. Cold weather species are the primary focus of this zoo.

    The Holarctic

    The Holarctic exhibit sits in the center of the Great North. This sprawling complex is set up in a loop and exhibits species of northern North America and northern Eurasia. Much of it is a mix of forest and open woodland. The loop contains large paddocks for caribou, gray wolves, brown bears, and moose. Each of these exhibits contain ponds. The wolf and bear exhibits are raised slightly to allow the animals to have a vantage point. Next to the moose is a series of smaller enclosures. These contain wolverines and red foxes. All of the paddocks contain ample trees for shade as well as clearings. Netted aviaries house peregrine falcons, golden eagles, and ravens. A small dark building contains netted aviaries for great gray, short-eared, long eared, and barn owls. As is the case with many birds, these are injured and cannot be released in the wild. Periodically, keepers have demonstrations with the birds. After leaving this exhibit, the visitor sees an indoor/outdoor exhibit containing ermines.
     
  2. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member

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    Two North American exhibits begin the Great North area of the Capital Zoo. These and the Asian themed areas surround the Holarctic exhibit.

    Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

    After leaving the Holarctic exhibit, the visitor takes a left to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem exhibit. This exhibit displays species native to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the most intact ecosystem in the continental USA.

    The entrance to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem resembles the Old Faithful Lodge. Numerous graphics explain the uniqueness of this ecosystem, in terms of how intact it is as well as the unique geology. Although they are not featured in this exhibit, the roles of wolves and grizzly bears are highlighted. As the visitor leaves the lodge, simulated geysers bubble and steam. The visitor walks along a boardwalk. The simulated geyser basin transitions into a grassy plains habitat with a few trees. The boardwalk transitions into a regular walking path. Coyotes inhabit this area. A few hills are present in this area that overlook a plains exhibit. The grassy plains exhibit is inhabited by a herd of bison and pronghorn. This large habitat contains numerous ponds where the bison often swim and wallow. Graphics explain the controversy with bison in Yellowstone, specifically the fears ranchers have about brucellosis as well as bison not being allowed to stray far from Yellowstone. Some ponds in the exhibit are close to the path. These contain trumpeter swans. Although it is not visible from the path, the plains exhibit is separated by a moat. The adjacent exhibit is grassy plains as well as forest. This one is inhabited by elk and mule deer. Ponds are present in the plains area and a creek runs through the forest. In a separate area of the forest is an exhibit for black bears. Although these are black bears, these ones are not black. They are cinnamon, blond, and brown bears, different from the black ones in the New York Wilds exhibit. The last part of the forest are two netted enclosures. These enclosures contain mountain lions and Canadian lynx. These netted enclosures are tall with ample trees to climb as well as numerous rocky outcrops to climb. The last enclosure in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is a simulated mountain with some grassy areas below. The creek that runs through the forest area continues here. This mountain exhibit is home to bighorn sheep. A sheer rock wall forms a barrier separating the last exhibit in the loop. This exhibit contains mountain goats. Graphics explain how this non-native species has begun colonizing the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

    Disappearing Arctic

    The next loop in the the Great North complex is the Disappearing Arctic. This small loop, is, as its name implies, dedicated to the Arctic. The exhibit features animals with a circumpolar distribution. The exhibit begins with a building resembling a research station that might be used in the Arctic. The building describes the history of the early inhabitants and the history of exploration. Much of it is also dedicated to the threats, especially climate change. The climate features the tundra, ice floes, and coastal regions. The first section is tundra. The enclosure is a grassy area with numerous ponds that are kept open even in winter. Snow geese and tundra swans inhabit this area. The birds are non-releasable birds. A hidden moat separates these birds from Arctic foxes. The foxes are able to peer into the waterfowl enclosure. An extensive den is visible from the path. This provides refuge to the foxes during hot weather and allows them to still be visible. Adjacent to the fox exhibit is a netted aviary. This aviary houses the diurnal snowy owl. While most of the habitat is open, the birds do have shade and perches. Similar to the Arctic fox, they also have a building to retreat to in hot weather. This one has a window for viewing. The aviary is near a wall with a pond offering an underwater view. This tundra exhibit houses the star of the Disappearing Arctic, the polar bears. The polar bears have a spacious tundra exhibit to roam. The exhibit has an arch going over the path resembling an ice floe. The polar bears can cross over this in order to reach their habitat resembling ice floes. Below the arch are life size illustrations of polar bears as adults and newborn cubs. The bears’ ice floe habitat has underwater and above water viewing. Numerous floes along with overhangs dot the exhibit. The overhangs provide resting spots for the bears in hot weather. After enjoying the bears, the visitor sees the pinnepeds in an area that is identical to the previous one. This one houses harbor seals, gray seals, and walruses and also has above and below water viewing. The walruses and seals are separated but appear to share an enclosure. Two overhead water tunnels allow the pinnepeds to swim above the path. Like the polar bears’ exhibit, this one has illustrations of the pinnepeds. This tunnel leads to a rocky coast exhibit the pinnepeds can enter, which again seems to the same exhibit from the visitor's point of view . A netted aviary attached to the rocky coast houses common murres and horned puffins. This exhibit has viewing above and below the water. The visitor is now ready to move on to an some of the Asian themed areas of the Great North area.
     
    Last edited: 30 Jan 2016
  3. lowland anoa

    lowland anoa Well-Known Member

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    What a amazing fantasy zoo!
     
  4. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member

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    Glad you enjoyed it. I've been wanting to design a cold weather zoo for a while now. Stay tuned!
     
  5. Pleistohorse

    Pleistohorse Well-Known Member

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    I like it.
     
  6. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member

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    Glad you like it.
     
  7. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member

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    Mongolian Steppes

    The Mongolian Steppe exhibit is an extensive, open area of the zoo. The beginning is a simulated yurt. This building contains information on the culture and challenges this region faces. The exhibit begins with a netted enclosure with a bridge going over the path. This contains Pallas cats, a species likely unfamiliar to many visitors. On either side of the path are large paddocks containing Mongolian wild horses, goitered gazelles, and Bactrian camels. In the center of the exhibit is a hill overlooking the exhibit. A pack of dholes resides here. A bridge crosses over the path allowing the dholes to enter a similar exhibit on the other side. The final section of the Mongolian steppe is a netted enclosure. This contains snow leopards. The snow leopards have a bridge that crosses the path in a similar manner as the dholes. The snow leopard exhibit transitions into the Highlands of Asia exhibit.
     
  8. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for the long delay. Here is the next set of exhibits.

    Highlands of Asia
    The Highlands of Asia exhibit features species native to the mountainous areas of Asia. The visitor passes through an archway resembling a rugged mountain. Graphics highlight the culture of the region and the threats it faces. An informational area designed to resemble a research station contains the graphics. As the visitor passes under the arch, there is a netted enclosure on the left. The snow leopards from the Mongolian steppes are able to enter a tall mountainous exhibit. This exhibit is the beginning of a loop. The snow leopards overlook a rocky exhibit (with natural substrate) that contains a herd of markhors. These animals have numerous cliffs, including some that overlook the path. Adjacent to this exhibit is a smaller, but similar enclosure for Chinese gorals. The visitor goes down a slight grade into a more forested enclosure with simulated bamboo. This medium sized enclosure contains red pandas. The red pandas have a ledge overlooking the next enclosure with a similar design. This one houses Sichuan takins. Adjacent to the takins is an expansive paddock for white-lipped deer, and a neighboring one for tufted deer. The final segment of the Highlands of Asia exhibit is a series of aviaries showcasing kalij, Reeve’s, golden, white-eared, and Himalayan monals.

    Siberia
    A heavily planted, netted exhibit follows the Asian Highlands exhibit. This heavily planted exhibit is a massive rotation exhibit for Amur tigers, Amur leopards, and Eurasian lynx. For those of you familiar, this is like the Asian Highlands exhibit in the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City. Across the cats’ exhibit is a paddock containing Siberian musk deer. On cold days the visitor may choose to remain in a central building that resembles a research station and contains information regarding the species present.

    Land of the Rising Sun
    The final exhibit in the Great North area of the zoo is a small complex dedicated to wildlife of Japan. The entrance to this exhibit is an archway resembling a pagoda. The visitor enters a small aviary. This aviary contains red-breasted geese, Mandarin ducks, and Japan’s national bird, the green pheasant. In another aviary the visitor cannot enter, a flock of red-crowned cranes is visible. Two paddocks containing sika deer and Japanese serows are then visible. These are well planted spaces and contain ample space for the ungulates. Finally, the visito enters an area with two troops of snow monkeys on either side of the trail. These exhibits contain underwater views of the monkeys. Numerous rocks, trees, and pools are available for the primates’ enrichment. As the visitor leaves the snow monkeys, they enter an area resembling an urban landscape. This illustrates the delicate balance that exists in Japan with its urban and rural environments.
     
  9. Screvier20

    Screvier20 Well-Known Member

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    What a fantastic fantasy zoo! Living in the Albany area I wish it was real.
     
  10. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member

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    I got so busy I forgot about this one. Plus I was getting so little feedback. Maybe I need to continue.
     
  11. Screvier20

    Screvier20 Well-Known Member

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    I hope you do continue it. I love the exhibits you have detailed and the the focus on cold weather species. How large is the zoo and any ideas where the zoo would be located in the Capital Region?