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ZooChat Cup Match #2: Colchester vs Salzburg

Discussion in 'ZooChat Cup' started by CGSwans, 25 Feb 2018.

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Small mammals: Colchester or Salzburg?

Poll closed 4 Mar 2018.
  1. Colchester

    65.0%
  2. Salzburg

    35.0%
  1. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Category: 'small mammals'. Rodents, marsupials, Xenarthrans, small carnivores and assorted miniature furry things: they all fit here.

    Zoos: Salzburg and Colchester. I confess to not knowing a great deal about either: Salzburg was on my radar for a while because of its historic home city and crazy-beautiful alpine setting, but I ultimately didn't make it. I never really considered Colchester, a major if seemingly unloved part of the UK zoo scene. I'm clearly going to have to do some research before voting in this one.

    The concept behind this poll is explained here:
    ZooChat Cup

    In summary, the rules of the game are as follows:
    - You may choose whatever criteria you like to decide how to vote, as long as it only relates to the category of 'small mammals'.
    - You can use whatever resources you like to inform your vote, including Zoolex, Zootierliste, the ZooChat gallery, trip reviews, zoo maps, books and wherever else. You don't have to have visited both zoos to vote.
    - Votes are public and can be changed at any time before the poll closes.
    - The aim of the game is to provoke debate. Post explaining why you voted the way you did, and why others should join you.
    - The one thing you can't do is vote based on anything other than small mammals.
    - Voting closes in seven days.
     
  2. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    It was discarded from my Bavarian itinerary at literally the last minute - the day prior to visiting - because Helly had a meltdown from all the sensory/emotional overload of the trip and needed a rest day. A pity, as the reasons you cite are precisely why I wanted to visit.

    As such, I have not visited one of the two collections under discussion - however, given the fact that I was not particularly keen on the small mammal collection at Colchester both in terms of species and exhibitry, I reckon that Salzburg nonetheless gets my vote due to the presence of species such as Alpine Marmot and Alpine Hare in a geographically appropriate setting :p

    Petty, I know - but a choice nonetheless.
     
  3. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    If today's other tie sees two greats slugging it out, this is the equivalent of Crystal Palace against West Bromwich Albion - the sort fo match that sends you to bed before Match of the Day has finished.

    That said, Colchester does have some animals which might be called 'small' which are interesting and worth seeing - my definition of a 'small mammal' is something which might once have been kept in the Clore. So, Bearded Saki stand out. Tamandua. Binturong. Various predictable callitrichids. Those nice Syrian Hyrax. Could we squeeze a Blue Duiker into this category? Maybe an Aardvark? And if we include the Aardvarks, we can give credit for their house - the most Colchesterish of all Colchester exhibits!
     
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  4. DesertRhino150

    DesertRhino150 Well-Known Member

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    I’m not going to cast my vote yet, as I don’t feel I know enough about Salzburg to make a judgement. However, I will post my thoughts on Colchester’s exhibits, compare the collections on Zootierliste (although it is incorrect in parts for Colchester) and post what I can find of Salzburg from the Zoochat gallery.

    Only one species of rodent remains on-show at Colchester (the domestic rat) and depending on whether the Asia Minor spiny mice remain at the zoo and go back on-show after the lion redevelopment, the collection may house no wild rodent species at all. Although I do not know if Salzburg have all their species on-show or not, they have nine rodents of which eight are wild species. In terms of rodents, Salzburg wins hands-down.

    As well as domestic rabbits, held at both zoos, Salzburg also houses mountain hare according to Zootierliste while Colchester houses no wild lagomorphs.

    Both zoos only house one marsupial species – Colchester the red-necked wallaby (sugar gliders are definitely not on-show, having been replaced by domestic rats; I have no idea if they remain in the zoo or not) and Salzburg the parma wallaby. Neither are particularly special species in the rarity stakes.

    For small carnivores (I am using the IUCN Small Carnivore Specialist Group to determine species, see here: http://www.smallcarnivoreconservation.org/) Salzburg has five species (wolverine, Eurasian otter, ring-tailed coati, red panda, banded mongoose) compared to Colchester’s eight (smooth-coated and Asian small-clawed otter, striped skunk, ring-tailed coati, red panda, meerkat, binturong, Asian palm civet). A few interesting species on either side but mostly quite common species with an overlap of two species as well.

    In terms of Xenarthra, Colchester has three species (the giant anteater, Southern tamandua and Linne’s two-toed sloth) while Salzburg has just two (the Linne’s two-toed sloth and Southern three-banded armadillo).

    In terms of other small mammals (depending on your definition), Colchester also has aardvark and Syrian rock hyrax (the four-toed hedgehog listed on Zootierliste is definitely absent) while Salzburg has the short-eared elephant shrew and Seba’s short-tailed bat. It depends entirely on which you think are more important species – I personally feel Colchester is missing out hugely by not exhibiting bats, so they might get a mark down for that from me.

    It should be noted that of the seventeen small mammal species that definitely remain at Colchester, five live off-show and only come out either in the animal shows (ring-tailed coati, striped skunk and Asian palm civet) or for handling sessions in the Sensation Station (domestic rabbit and guinea pig). I have no idea of the situation at Salzburg.

    In terms of enclosures, Colchester’s small mammal displays vary considerably; here is a list of the different exhibits and my personal opinions of them:

    • Aardvark: two outdoor enclosures with at least three different indoor areas (one off-show); the exhibit was changed from just a single indoor and outdoor area so the group didn’t have to move off-show whenever one of the females gave birth. There is an indoor viewing area for the largest indoor den (along with a simple window into the smaller on-show den) so the aardvarks are always visible, albeit very rarely ever active during daylight hours

    • Small-clawed otter and binturong: a huge display for a pair of otters and a pair of binturong, planted with small conifer trees (rather jarring for mainly tropical species), bamboo and large live trees that are hot-wired to stop the binturongs climbing them – instead they have a climbing frame to use; if anything this enclosure seems almost too big for the species in question (the enclosure was built for cheetah and also housed a group of dhole in the past) – the otters are so small that they are very difficult to see at the back of the exhibit and the binturong are not the most active display

    • Domestic rat: formerly an enclosure for sugar gliders (and prior to that, an indoor area for guinea pigs), this is a very simple enclosure mocked-up to appear like a kitchen; it has a tiled floor, a table and a worktop with a sink; several cereal boxes and pots are on the worktop although the illusion is ruined somewhat by the small wire pet ladders connecting all the shelves – better than a wire cage but wild-type rats would probably work just as well here

    • Giant anteater: formerly one of the better enclosures for small mammals at the zoo; over the years however the exhibit has become so overgrown with bamboo that seeing the animals when they are outdoors is extremely challenging; the addition of a large concrete model of an anteater in the corner of the enclosure (that the live anteaters can access) is also very jarring

    • Smooth-coated otter: in my opinion, the best small mammal enclosure at Colchester (possibly the best enclosure for any animal at the zoo) – very large and with dense plantings that evoke a tropical setting in good weather, large glass-fronted viewing areas so visitors can spread out and are not always crowded into one place, a large flat patch of mock-rock where the otters can communally rub their coats dry, one on-show and one mostly off-show indoor area with at least two small dens also available, one large clear-water pool with a pebble-lined bottom allows visitors to see the otters swimming while a second pool is very murky and resembles much more closely the water the otters would swim in in the wild – it is a joy to watch the otters here; the only thing really missing is an underwater view but I am not sure how necessary it is here – the large group of large otters make a good enough display as they are

    • Linne’s two-toed sloth: a very similar exhibit to the tamandua enclosure (written in detail about below) and situated opposite, with the chest-high glass walls separating the two enclosures from the middle walkway; the sloths here share with golden lion tamarins; another pair of sloths live in another walkthrough enclosure that houses golden-headed lion tamarins and Geoffroy’s marmosets – a nice if slightly ordinary outdoor walkthrough enclosure

    • Meerkat: quite a big exhibit (to be expected, as there is a large group) with several large log formations for the meerkats to climb and deep sand for them to dig in; otherwise there is not much to make this an outstanding exhibit although the sheer monotony of meerkats has possibly dulled me to the actual exhibitry

    • Nepalese red panda: not especially impressive as an exhibit – by no means bad, just ordinary; a simple climbing frame with two flat-topped sleeping boxes dominates the exhibit with clumps of dense bamboo planted around the exhibit which is viewed from two separate areas, allowing clear views of the red pandas from either angle

    • Red-necked wallaby: a simple hoop-shaped walk-through exhibit around a small hillock planted with eucalyptus trees for an all-male group of wallabies – not the most inspiring display, but then I have very rarely (if ever) seen a wallaby enclosure that can be described as ‘inspiring’

    • Southern tamandua: two indoor enclosures connected to a netted outdoor enclosure separated from the public by a chest-high glass wall; the enclosure is a mixed-species display also housing Geoffroy’s marmosets and coppery titi monkeys; it works well for the animals, evidenced by the fact the pair have bred in this enclosure

    • Syrian rock hyrax: an all-male group of hyraxes live in a mixed enclosure with a breeding group of L’Hoest’s guenons; they have a large mock-rock tableau on a small hillock but otherwise the enclosure seems largely designed for the monkeys; when the monkeys breed the hyraxes are confined off-show in a small hutch – when the two species are on display together however it is one of the more engaging exhibits for small mammals
    In terms of Salzburg, these are the three enclosures for small mammals I have found in the gallery:

     
    Last edited: 25 Feb 2018
    Vision, KevinVar, CGSwans and 3 others like this.
  5. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    This one looks to close to call at the moment, I think Colchester is unfortunate to be judged on small mammals as it may have been more clear cut on primates or a few other categories! I need convincing to vote against Colchester though, I rate the zoo much more highly than many!
     
  6. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Wonderful post, DesertRhino. Cheers. :)
     
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  7. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    Is Fennec Fox not classed as a small carnivore?
     
  8. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    While I have never visited Colchester, I've been to Zoo Salzburg at Anif several times. I do like this zoo; an interesting past, some creative elements ahead of their time, the best griffon vulture husbandry a zoo can wish for and one of the nicest locations and scenery you can imagine for a zoo. It has great potential and could be a zoo ZooChatters wouldn't dare to skip - if the right persons were in charge. Unfortunately, due to its still ongoing current leadership, it doesn't live up to said potential and remains a rather decent zoo, who rather imitates what others do and plays it safe than risking something new and innovative.

    Adding to the already mentioned small mammal exhibits:
    - A Black rat indoor enclosure designed to look like an old stable
    - Cotton-top tamarins in an indoor walkthrough rainforest exhibit
    - Eurasian river otters in a lengthy pond below the chamois exhibit
    - The Gibbon House with lar gibbons, emperor tamarins and coatis
    - The South America House (or rather, one of several...) with tufted capuchin / squirrel monkeys and southern three-banded armadillo
    - The Rhino house with striped mongoose and Ring-tailed lemurs

    Except for the quite nice otter exhibit, none of them is really original or will take your breath away. The Eurasian harvest mice are indeed kept in a rather simple terrarium - within an artificial cave that allows for a look into the hay rack of the chamois and the indoor exhibit of the river otter.
     
  9. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member

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    would marmosets be classed as small mammals?
     
  10. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

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    No, they already fall under the primates category.
     
  11. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member

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    but... but they are small?
     
  12. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    That's up to you, but I think it's reasonable.

    The 'small mammals' category is deliberately a little amorphous. Three of the seven categories - 'large carnivores', primates and hoofstock/elephants - are designed to capture the typical ABC exhibits that are the core business of any traditional zoo. They are likely to benefit zoos that put a premium on exhibit design quality.

    Then there's the four other categories that are designed to capture the more diverse parts of a collection: zoos that maintain broad and unique collections should do well out of these. My hope is that the two types of categories will complement each other.

    'Small mammals' is the category where these two concepts would be expected to overlap a little, hence why I'm happy for your definition to bleed into the other categories a little.

    As with carnivores, do use your judgment. Great apes are obviously not small. Neither, I would suggest, are baboons, mandrills or gibbons.
     
  13. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member

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    I choose Salzburg because it has prama wallabys colchester has bennet's. Salzburg has Eurasian otters while Colchester has the more common small-clawed otters. Of course this is just a judgement based on the animal list on their websites.
     
  14. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure you realise this but just for the avoidance of all doubt, a vote will only count if it is an actual vote on the poll. Explaining why you're voting for one zoo or the other is eagerly encouraged, but isn't enough to count without the formal vote as well.
     
  15. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member

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    Whoops forgot to do that Xp
     
  16. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    Of course Colchester also has smooth-coated otters, which are breeding...
     
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  17. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    If small primates are counted ( which probably they shouldn't be) , that will only help Colchester, which has a far more impressive list than the Salzburg one given above!
     
  18. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member

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    Now that you have told me, I have realized that I didn't read the site and assumed they were small-clawed otters : p
     
  19. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    Very clever, but ZTL doesn't list either of those species ! I assume they're wild , which surely shouldn't count?!
     
  20. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    What about bush dog, black backed Jackal too? Surely they're not much different to a Wolverine? Colchester is being sold short by earlier posts