Discussion in 'ZooChat Cup' started by CGSwans, 10 Jan 2020.
Another day, another retro taxonomic category. Omaha. Plzen. Primates.
2-1 Omaha for now, could be tempted to go 3-0 going on peoples opinions of Plzen's lemur, callithrid, nocturnal primate, and chimp housing. Does Omaha have anything terrible for their primates to even it up?
I have described my disgust for the Lemur housing earlier, but the Callichtrid house is probably even worse given its recent opening. The indoor enclosure for the Chimps is also pretty awful in Plzen. The nocturnal primates have averagdly sizes enclosures when compared to other nocturnal houses, which means especially for the Galago it is on the smaller side. The only good primate enclosures that come to mind are the Gibbon, Guenon and Colobus islands.
Even with Omaha also keeping some lemurs in new all indoor housing, this is an easy win for Omaha, either 2-1 or 3-0.
Is the South American House really that bad? Or do you mean the callichtrid cages dotted around near the entrance?
I’m seeing quite a consensus building behind Omaha, but no explanation for why. Who has been and wants to give it a stab?
Pretty much all are on the same level.
Do you want the short version or the long version?
Omaha isn't fantastic for primates either tbh, but they definitely have much better and larger enclosures than a lot of the species at Plzen. Again, though, I'd imagine a lot of the criticisms thrown at Plzen could also be thrown at Omaha. I think the chimp indoors pretty much seals Plzen's fate, though.
Here are some of Omaha's primate exhibits:
Bornean Orangutan/Agile Gibbon indoor area (32 feet high and also quite wide):
Same area but from a different angle (lacking natural substrate on the floor):
Orangutan and gibbon outdoor enclosures (each exhibit is 65 feet high):
Orangutan/gibbon exhibits from visitor boardwalk angle:
Omaha has a maze-like gorilla area with several outdoor and indoor sections:
Overhead gorilla tunnel:
Omaha has a lot of primate species inside the Lied Jungle complex and there have been free-roaming Golden Lion Tamarins in the past, but I'm not sure if that's still a common occurrence or not. Some of the photos below might be slightly outdated in terms of the combination of species, but I have visited Omaha in 2008, 2012 and 2018.
A sampling of primate areas from inside the 1.5-acre Lied Jungle:
Francois Langur exhibit with Malayan Tapirs:
Spider monkeys with Baird's Tapirs:
Blue Monkeys with Pygmy Hippos:
White-handed Gibbons with Small-clawed Otters:
Red-backed Bearded Sakis with Black Howler Monkeys:
Omaha has a variety of other primate species around the zoo.
Black-handed Spider Monkey exhibit (a little ugly but massive):
Squirrel Monkey overhead trail:
Ring-tailed Lemur exhibit (ugh!):
Walk-through lemur complex (two enclosures):
Mongoose Lemur exhibit:
Ring-tailed Lemur and Collared Brown Lemur all-indoor exhibit (no outdoor access):
Red Ruffed Lemur/Common Brown Lemur exhibit (no outside enclosure):
There are Douroucoulis in the world's largest nocturnal house (Kingdoms of the Night) and I'm not sure if any other primate species are locate there or not these days.
Lastly, here are the 10 lemur species located in Expedition Madagascar (to varying degrees of exhibit quality): Aye-aye, Red Ruffed Lemur, Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur, Ring-tailed Lemur, Black Lemur, Mongoose Lemur, Common Brown Lemur, Red-collared Brown Lemur, Crowned lemur, Grey Mouse Lemur,
I'd be inclined to dispute this point - in my opinion the exhibits in question are pretty good. I certainly don't think the galago exhibits are too small.
That said, this is definitely a weak point for Plzen - though not, I feel, so weak that they do not merit a point for the high-quality of the various monkey and gibbon islands cited and the wide variety of nocturnal primates held.
2-1 for Omaha, methinks.
Hmmmmm, most of what @snowleopard showed was really not very convincing. And especially those indoor lemur exhibits, really threatening to counterbalance Plzen's automatic handicap in any primate round...
Every zoo building, new or old, has a bunch of flaws discovered once the construction is finished and you put the animals in it. Some are easily repairable and with some you just have to deal in some way...The thing is, some of these probably wouldn't even exist, if you'd give it a bit more thought in project stage.
Having good relationship with some of Plzen's primate keepers, we are discussing these things very often, and we all agree that for a recently-opened building, the South American house isn't what it probably could've be.
The main issues of the house:
The exhibits could be much higher, giving animals more climbing opportunities, especially the outter parts.
The animals can see each other on the opposite sides of the house - apparently the more agresive species feel the need to protect their territory and harass the animals on the other side, who were not taking it well. (This was already fixed I think with changing the species list a bit)
There are no service corridors/entrances, so the keepers have to enter the exhibits from public space.
+ some more minor problems.
Additionally it has less outdoor enclosures then indoor enclosures, which I find incomprehensible for a new house.
Omaha doesn't exactly look great either, so changed it to 2-1 from 3-0
I dont see this as a problem though, it was clearly done on purpose, so animals can be separated/moved to the second part when there is work to be done in the first part. (And it proved to be very useful, otherwise, I can't imagine cleaning the enclosure with aggressive emperor tamarin, that is constantly trying to bite you...)
Most of the time, animals can access both enclosures, and all animals except pacas and armadillos have access to outside enclosures
Primate exhibits is Plzen's achilles heel and Omaha looks at least one class better from Snow Leopard's pictures - compare inside enclosures for orangutangs and gorillas with Plzen's bathroom for utterly bored chimps. Plzen gets a point for three beautyful monkey islands, which actually look better than anything from Omaha for similar species.
The one for Senegal galagos is certainly on the smaller side (even though it holds just 1,1+ offspring, not 12 like I counted in Prague few weeks ago. )
What I find funny is that if the off-show bedrooms (on this picture by @LaughingDove it is the building with the windows in the middle) were visible to public, the feeling would be much better. They are still old and small, but better furnished. Pretty much the only aspect the on show is beeter in is the height of the ceiling
It's interesting that neither zoo is great for primates, with my photos showing Omaha with some dreadful all-indoor lemur exhibits. Expedition Madagascar, the area where there are both indoor and outdoor sections for lemurs, opened in 2010 and so it's not even that old! I'm also not a big fan of Omaha's gorilla section, with a maze-like section of bare cement walls for visitors and then windows looking into green lawns for gorillas...it's completely sterile indoors and only basic yards outside. The best that Omaha has in terms of primate exhibits would be the orangutan/gibbon outdoor habitats that stretch 65 feet in height. The apes have mesh to climb on all sides, plus the huge, central fake trees. The 32-foot high indoor area also allows a lot of brachiating opportunities.
I'll vote 2-1 Omaha and that seems to be the clear, fair consensus.
When I visited it meant thatc ach indoor enclosure had its own species, so half of the species did not have access to an outdoor enclosure...
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