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ZooChat Cup finals: Chester vs Vienna

Discussion in 'ZooChat Cup' started by CGSwans, 11 Jan 2020.

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Chester vs Vienna: South and Central America

Poll closed 13 Jan 2020.
  1. Chester 3-0 Vienna

    6.5%
  2. Chester 2-1 Vienna

    80.6%
  3. Vienna 2-1 Chester

    12.9%
  4. Vienna 3-0 Chester

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    And now, the photographic posts to build my case:

    Giant Otter

    As I have noted on a number of occasions throughout the Zoochat Cup, this is without a shadow of a doubt the best exhibit for Giant Otters I have seen; a massive and lushly-vegetated outdoor exhibit (converted from a former California Sealion pool, by the by) is accompanied by a large interior exhibit which is itself larger than several of the other enclosures for this species in European collections, and contains a heated pool, and a second offshow interior enclosure. Much as was the case for Prague and carnivores, Vienna has nothing in the "South and Central America" category which approaches how exceptionally good this exhibit is in terms of design and quality, nor the next few exhibits on my docket.

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    Jaguar House

    .....and this is the other big-hitter at Chester; again, the best exhibit I have seen for the species in question by far, with multiple sizable outdoor enclosures - a grassland-themed one, an off-display enclosure, and a lushly-vegetated waterfall exhibit - along with multiple large indoor exhibits. One of these is also off-display, and the second (scrub/savanna-themed) is currently being put to other use (of which more later), but the third (jungle-themed) is so good that it would perhaps put forward a decent case for Chester on its own, but when taken alongside the other exhibits makes this exhibit complex world-class, and perhaps one of the very best big cat exhibits in the world.

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    Moreover, this house also contains a number of other smaller exhibits and enclosures which merit highlighting; firstly, a large aquarium exhibit for a wide array of Amazonian fish species. The land area of this exhibit, along with the several ropes strung throughout the roof of this portion of the Jaguar House, serves as the indoor exhibit for the Linne's Two-toed Sloths held within the complex. I would argue that this sloth exhibit is miles beyond the one at Vienna illustrated above, by the by:

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    A relatively-new expansion to the exhibit complex is an outdoor enclosure for the sloths, along with Azura's Agouti; the latter species live within this exhibit, whilst the former access it via ropes exiting the main building through high-level windows:

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    On the northwest edge of the Jaguar complex, an annexe visible from within the Jaguar Cafe contains Southern Pudu - there are unfortunately no images of this exhibit within the gallery, so far as I can tell, although there *are* images of the second Pudu exhibit elsewhere in the zoo (of which more later).

    I repeat the prior satellite image, in order to give a better impression of the layout of the complex:

    Pudu exhibit - top right
    Jaguar outdoor (grassland) - mid right
    Jaguar outdoor (offshow) - bottom right
    Jaguar indoor (scrub), Sloth indoors, Amazon tank - right-centre
    Sloth/Agouti exhibit - upper left-centre
    Jaguar indoor (jungle) - lower left-centre
    Jaguar outdoor (jungle) left

    jaguars etc.PNG


    Spectacled Bear

    The exhibits for this species represent another of the big-hitters for Chester, with the aforementioned and previously-pictured savanna exhibit in the Jaguar house being used on occasion to hold the breeding male - I am not sure if this is the case currently - and the primary exhibit being extremely large, lushly vegetated and with only the very front portion visible to the public; I would say this exhibit is in the top 3 for the species in Europe, possibly the very top, and is certainly in the upper echelons of bear exhibits as a whole. These photographs show perhaps a shade over half of the area visible to the public - the onshow viewing extends further to the right than these images show.

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    Repeating the previously-posted satellite image of this exhibit would, I think, help to give a picture of how much of the exhibit is hidden from view:

    spectacled.PNG

    Bush Dog

    This exhibit is again one of the best I have seen for the species - if not the best - and provides a large amount of space for the sizable and regularly-breeding pack of dogs which is resident within; there are indoor dens, open areas of grass and more densely wooded/vegetated areas, along with a decent-sized pool which the dogs can regularly be seen swimming in. Moreover, large portions of the exhibit are pockmarked with burrows and dens which have been excavated by the dogs themselves, along with other artificial pipes and burrows. Frustratingly only the more open portion of the exhibit has been photographed within the gallery; I'd estimate that this photo shows perhaps one-third of the whole:

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    Last edited: 11 Jan 2020
  2. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    A few more exhibits, major and minor.....

    Fruit Bat Forest -

    In my opinion the best bat exhibit I have ever seen, with no other exhibit coming close; although for obvious reasons photographs of the interior are somewhat hard to come by, there are images in the gallery showing the layout of the house. An entry annexe contains exhibits for Lesser and Greater Hedgehog Tenrec, after which one enters a massive walkthrough exhibit containing Rodrigues Flying Fox and Sebas Short-tailed Bat. Although of these, only the lattermost species is valid for the purposes of this challenge it is nonetheless an extremely noteworthy exhibit given the fact that this exhibit is larger than many tropical houses at other zoos, and contains something in the order of 250-300 of the Seba's Short-tailed Bat, with the colony constantly breeding.

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    Giant Anteater and Capybara

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    Brazilian Tapir

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    Colombian Spider Monkey and Yellow-breasted Capuchin

    These species are held within the monkey house, and has sizable indoor and outdoor exhibits; in the second of these images, the outdoor exhibit for the spider monkeys is located on the upper left, and the outdoor exhibit for the capuchins is located on the bottom.

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    Caribbean Flamingo

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    Last edited: 12 Jan 2020
  3. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Humboldt Penguin

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    Mountain Chicken and Haitian Galliwasp

    This image shows approximately half the exhibit, as best as I can tell:

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    Caiman Lizard in Tropical Realm

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    Examples of exhibits for South American amphibians and anoles in Tropical Realm

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    I'd be obliged if anyone can root out decent photographs showing the complex of indoor and outdoor exhibits for callitrichids, by the by - we only have species closeups in the gallery!

    Other noteworthy points:

    • The vast majority of the parrot collection at Chester is off-display in the Parrot Breeding Centre; however, a small annexe is visible to the public, containing Lilacine Amazon and Elegant Crested Tinamou. Chester is the studbook holder for the captive breeding programme for the former species, and the research which demonstrated it merited full species status as a distinct taxon from Amazona autumnalis took place here.
    • Chester is also the studbook holder for the following category species: Mountain Chicken, Black-eyed Leaf Frog, Lake Patzcuaro Salamander, Blue-throated Macaw, Colombian Spider Monkey, Margay, Jaguar. Of these, only the margay is not kept at the collection at present.
    • The collection is also working alongside Manchester Museum in their ongoing in-situ and ex-situ programmes for endangered Central American and South American amphibians, is also working both in-situ and ex-situ with a number of species native to the Caribbean and immediate environs such as Bermuda Skink, has had repeated success within the Socorro Dove breeding programme, and was recently the first public collection outside the native range to successfully breed Collared Trogon.

    Other than the missing birds and reptiles (mostly borne of you forgetting a lot of Caribbean taxa) and the complete lack of amphibians :p I didn't say your whole list was untrustworthy, merely that you continue to cut corners, exaggerate things and make snap-judgements, and that this has an impact on how people view what you say and do. You are getting better, mind you!

    And a smaller overall footplan somehow means more space how? :p
     
    Last edited: 12 Jan 2020
  4. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    To conclude - Vienna is indeed a very good collection, and were circumstances different I would be very much in favour of voting 2-1 for Chester to reflect this - however, given the scope to which Chester excels in this area in terms of collection and enclosure quality (seriously, four world-class exhibits.... two or three of which are possibly *the* best in the world for their species) and the conservation work the collection is also undertaking in this area, I think a 3-0 vote for Chester is neither unwarranted nor unfair to Vienna.
     
  5. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Because all the animals concerned in Chester have access to less space.

    As an aside, could you specify which birds and reptiles I am missing? Just curious :)
     
  6. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    I repeat, how can you claim that the various South American animals at Chester (which have exhibits to themselves with larger footplans) have access to less space than animals in smaller exhibits which have to share them? :p

    Montserrat oriole (Icterus oberi)
    Western village weaver (Ploceus cucullatus cucullatus) - introduced in Caribbean
    Socorro dove (Zenaida graysoni)
    ----
    Bermuda skink (Plestiodon longirostris)
    (fairly sure there's one other lizard I'm forgetting which is missing from ZTL)
     
  7. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    The species you are forgetting is the Mourning gecko I assume, which is only introduced into the area. I did not count introduced species because South and Central America is not in their natural range.

    The Socorro dove and the Bermuda skink are both either in the North America and Europe section or the Islands category but not the South American section. Bermuda is off the coast of North Carolina.
    The Montserrat oriole, I admit, I did miss.

    Because you gave the area of the two exhibits put together. However, the Capybara will not have access to the full 4000 m2 just as the tapir won't have access to the full 4000 m2, only half of it. Therefore the animals end up with less area to live in than in Vienna because they have 75% less space.
     
  8. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    The placement of the various skinks and anoles of the Caribbean and environs were a tricky one which was debated back and forth between NA, CA/SA and Islands - I believe the final ruling was that due to biogeographic reasons they were CA/SA.

    Socorro is far enough south to count as part of the "Central American" portion of Mexico - again, I have a feeling this one came up in a past round.

    Ah, I see where you are coming from - my point is that because there are fewer species sharing the space, they have more space to themselves, and (given the fact that looking at photographs of the South American Plains exhibit at Vienna, and the zoo map, it appears to comprise multiple separate exhibits linked by moats and with large areas taken up by water) other than the Capybara, which can probably come and go as they like, the same "issue" will be present at Vienna.

    Two minor mathematical points; the Chester exhibit complex is 4,770m² not 4,000m², and half of this is 2385m²..... which is 81% the size of the Vienna exhibit. Therefore, even from your point of view the animals at Chester have 19% less space, NOT 75% less space. If the latter were the case, the Chester exhibits would be around 875m² apiece ;) which WOULD be too small!
     
    Last edited: 11 Jan 2020
  9. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    As we are talking about the Pantanal exhibit, from memory and confirmed by the photos, has not water for the animals except a tiny pool in the capybara enclosure. I don't think this is great for an animal like a tapir that spends a large portion of its time underwater nor capybaras which are semi-aquatic. Furthermore, they have no tree cover whatsoever, which is poor for tapirs (extremely shy animals) and the anteaters. They should at least have some sort of place to hide.

    The jaguar indoor exhibit, I admit, is extraordinary. However, the outdoor exhibit could certainly do with much more greenery. It is just a sloped field with a waterfall.
    Are you sure the bear exhibit goes that far East? I seem to remember a barrier well in sight of the visitors and the map indicates the bears are tucked into the curve rather than taking up all of it.

    At any rate, some of Chester's exhibits are really very good, others are large but don't really take into account the inhabitant's needs, some are the exact opposite and none are really bad.
     
  10. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Having looked at Google Street View's images of the tapir enclosure:

    tapir.PNG
    I am further persuaded that this enclosure is not only mediocre but inadequate for the tapirs, no water, no cover - nowhere where the visitors cannot see them. This, for a shy animal, isn't great.
     
  11. Maguari

    Maguari Never could get the hang of Thursdays. Premium Member

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    That's the capybara/anteater enclosure, not the tapir one (that's behind you if you were stood here). And it's an old photo at that - there is now a pool for the capybara.
     
  12. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    The fact I provided photographs of both exhibits above (and a map showing their orientation to one another) means that it was already pretty obvious to AL which exhibit it was :p

    Moreover, the photographs I provided above of the tapir enclosure shows both the vegetation and trees at the rear of the exhibit where the animals can get out of view and the pool at the front of the exhibit which allows them access to water :p
     
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  13. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    As regards other points raised:

    I'm pretty sure the following is more than "just a sloped field with a waterfall and not much greenery" :p

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    It certainly does - some of the photographs I posted above make this a little more obvious, with the angle and shot location permitting a view further back, and partially behind the ridge. The map also shows this is the case, as the indoor housing is visible in the area you are questioning.

    I suspect the barrier you are recalling, limiting the male bear into the curved section, is a temporary one which was erected to separate the breeding pair a while ago when a cub was born :) and which was only present for a month or two. You merely didn't notice or spot the bears in the main body of the exhibit :p

    Answered much of this above - but I will note also that both exhibits have indoor housing which provides both offshow areas and interior viewing, and in the case of the anteater this is mostly offshow.
     
  14. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Oh right OK.

    When did you post photos of the capybara and anteater exhibit?
     
  15. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Last night, in the middle of all my other photo citations :) the post in question was pretty long, so I have just split it into two posts to make it easier to read and reference.

    On a different note, I'd be interested to hear the "Vienna is superior to Chester" arguments from @Vision , @Penshet and @Haasje - all of whom appear to have switched from 2-1 Chester to 2-1 Vienna. I hope they haven't merely switched out of pique at my supporting Chester 3-0 so vehemently :p ;)

    But, in all seriousness, I think it would be very interesting to hear those arguments, as thus far the thread has mostly comprised a) me posting photographs and debate points about Chester b) AL and myself debating various Chester points, with only a little direct discussion of how/if Vienna might be stronger.
     
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  16. Penshet

    Penshet Well-Known Member

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    I like birds and herps, and think Vienna has much better bird/herp displays than Chester. As I've mentioned before, the bird house there is absolutely superb, and the best exhibits in the Aquarium-Terrarium House are for South American species.

    I also thought some of Chesters enclosures are pretty ugly (even though they're superb for the animals), most notably the indoors for the jaguar, sloth and spider monkeys, and the penguin exhibit. I think Vienna, aesthetically, is in a completely different league than Chester.

    Husbandry-wise, I think they're about equal. Chester gives more space to some of their animals, but I feel like Vienna makes better use of their space, especially in the tapir/capybara/anteater enclosures. For these animals the exhibit in Vienna is superior to the one in Chester, at least to me.
     
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  17. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the feedback :)

    The bird house at Vienna is definitely a very nice use of a historical building :) but I reckon that when looked at as a de-facto bird house and walkthrough the Tropical Realm building is a lot better - I didn't bother citing the main walkthrough area (which I have posted photographs of several times throughout the Zoochat Cup) as only one or two South American species are within this portion of the house, and I didn't want to risk being accused of stretching the point too much, but it *is* a lot bigger and more lushly-vegetated than the walkthrough aviary at Vienna which was pictured above. It's up to your own judgement how well it counts, of course. That said, I reckon the aviaries for South American species in Tropical Realm are larger and better than the enclosed aviaries in the Vienna house and they definitely do count. It occurs to me that I haven't actually posted images of these aviaries - or the one for Montserrat Oriole elsewhere in the zoo - so I will see what I can dig up anon.

    I don't agree with you at all with regards to the jaguar indoor enclosures being "pretty ugly" - the jungle exhibit is particularly attractive, in my opinion!

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    Not sure why you think the Chester penguin exhibit is ugly either - although I will acknowledge that the exhibit for Humboldt Penguin at Vienna is pretty good looking and seems to give the inhabitants plenty of space both on land and in water :) you are correct about the aesthetic appearance of the indoor spider monkey exhibit, though! It is best described as "functional" methinks.

    However, the only one of these points which completely baffles me is your assertion that the sloth indoor exhibit is ugly and that Vienna is aesthetically in a completely different league, as judging from photographs previously provided, the Vienna sloth exhibit is very similar in design to the Chester one, except a lot smaller!

    Vienna:

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    Chester:

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  18. Haasje

    Haasje Well-Known Member

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    I think they are both very strong in this particular category. So it is just 50/50 for me. And in that case i have a soft point for historic architecture. So Vienna then topped out for me.
     
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