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ZooChat Cup Match #25: Burgers (6) vs Wroclaw

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

?

Ectotherms

Poll closed 29 Mar 2018.
  1. Burgers

    52.8%
  2. Wroclaw

    47.2%
  1. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    And the category is... reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates! Afrykarium and the most substantial lizard collection I've ever seen versus Burgers Ocean and Mangrove. This is the most interesting tussle yet.

    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 above.
    - 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.
    - Voting closes in four days
    - The one thing you can't do is vote based on anything other than the relevant category.

    Tomorrow, a rather less high profile match up: Amiens vs Helsinki.
     
  2. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

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    I already had a feelig this would be it...

    So we have Europe's best zoo aquarium and some of the best invertebrate displays against the biggest reptile house in Europe...
     
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  3. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    It’s such a perfect scenario that I would understand if you were to question my integrity. :D It is, however, a truly random selection.
     
  4. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

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    It is a pity that these two zoos are already playing each other now, especially given the next round is Amiens vs. Helsinki.... I would think Burgers' Zoo is the underdog here, but I don't know a lot about Wroclaw, apart from that they have a gigantic terrarium house and some big tanks in the Afrykarium, so I rely on @LaughingDove and others to make a case for that zoo.

    Burgers' Zoo is a rather unconventional zoo that likes to do things differently and it can be a bit difficult to compare with more mainstream zoos, but their ectotherm collection is for the majority limited to 2 areas: the Ocean and the Mangrove.

    Burgers' Ocean is for me the best aquarium within a zoo in Europe. It has relatively few tanks, only 10, but holds about 8 million liters of water. All tanks feature fish from the Indo-Pacific region, but they keep a great variety with most of the bigger species present (only sea turtles are missing). 7 of the 10 tanks are quite big and there are three highlights. The biggest highlight from the zoonerd (and aquarist perspective) is the biggest tank with living coral in the northern hemisphere with 750.000 liters of water. This tank is relatively extensively managed as the inhabitants can take quite good care of water quality themselves (e.g. much less filtering is necessary). Apart from many fish and corals (including several species who successfully reproduce sexually in this tank) there is a large array of other invertebrates from sea urchins to sea cucumburs, sponges, foraminifers and sea slugs. The main tank holds 3 million liters of water and has only a single viewing panel, with 20x5 meters it was the biggest viewing panel worldwide at the time of opening. The main stars here are sharks (including a Scalloped hammerhead) and the tank is made in such a way that you cannot see the walls. The visitors highlight is an acryllic tunnel through a 1.5 million liter tank that holds the only breeding group of Spotted eagle rays in Europe. Breeding is what Burgers' does very successfully with 2 other ray species and Epauleted sharks. The zoo is also a big supplier of live coral to other aquaria, as they breed and clone them successfully behind the scenes.

    The Mangrove is Burgers' newest addition and has three components, a mud flat, the manatee tank and a dry forest. The mud flat is the biggest and best enclosure for crabs in Europe (and possibly worldwide). There are 16 Horseshoe crabs and a group of 400-500 Fiddler crabs. The fiddler crabs are a joy to watch as you can see up to 100 males simultaneously trying to impress the females with their claws. The manatee tank holds several rarely seen S-American cichlid species. The dry forest part is basically a Butterfly walkthrough, with very high numbers of butterflies in about 15-20 different species. Though the Mangrove is not yet a year old, it already is very green and beautiful.

    Then there are some reptiles and amphibians kept throughout the zoo. There are large enclosures for reticulated python and Water monitor in the Rimba part. The Desert features several ectotherms from the Sonora desert including rattlesnakes, tarantula, scorpion, fathead minnow, gila monster and Colorado toad.The Bush has several free living reptiles, most notably Guadeloupe anole, Basilisk and Green iguana, as well as several turtle species, a tortoise and Broad-snouted caiman. Invisible but present are several frog species, with Montserrat whistling frogs being by far the most common.

    A quick look on Zootierliste shows that based just on species numbers Wroclaw would win this one. But based on enclosure design and originality, Burgers' should win. No other zoo would be crazy enough to build a huge enclosure just for crabs or try to manage such a huge coral reef.
     
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  5. Timmiegun

    Timmiegun Well-Known Member

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    I was about to write a huge essay on the two from what I've seen in Burgers' and read on Wroclaw. But Lintwork basicly sums it all up. Amen to that.

    Burgers is not your average as they don't have an reptile house or bughouse, they are trying to implement these by adding them to the eco-displays. The downside is that you can't always see all of these species. In visitor perspectives that could be dissapointing.
    Indeed Burgers' should win this one as they will always come up with new ways to display these types of animals,without putting them in small glass cages, to display.
     
  6. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    Arnhem is certainly a fabulous zoo, and the way in which it presents its collection is, occasionally, breathtaking.

    However, here it’s an easy win for Wroclaw.

    This is a zoo with three substantial aquariums, for a start. The Afrykarium is obviously the standout display, and is very, very good, even if its fish are outshone by its mammals and birds. Elsewhere the old aquarium looks as if it is on its last legs, but nonetheless has some excellent displays. I think the most interesting fishy display is the Odarium, however, presenting local animals in an open-air setting. Unusual, and very well done.

    Reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates are in the enormous terrarium. I wholly applaud the attempt to display a vast and massively varied collection under one roof (pace the recent arguments put forward by @lintworm, and others, in relation to the discussion about Pilsen). This building just goes on and on. There are a number of balconies, and a corridor or two, which in other zoos would represent a sizeable display in their own right. The central hall is a maze of different vivaria. And the new Komodo Dragon extension is rather nice as well. Anyone with a passing interest in animals could happily spend several hours in here.

    Elsewhere, there are further displays of relevant animals in the Madagascar House, and the Sahara House, but it is the stunning Terrarium wins this one.
     
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  7. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    Never been to Wroclaw but the way Burgers is keeping their few reptilian- and amphibian-species and the world-class Burgers Ocean and Mangrove-hall for the fishes and invertebrates makes me to vote for Burgers because I can't imaginenate there are somewhere better enclosures for these animals :).
     
  8. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

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    I have nothing against an enormous house with a huge collection, as long as a post stamp collection has no priority over animal husbandry. Berlin's new bird house is perfectly fine imo and I have a soft spot for the Grzimek house and I hope that Wroclaw's reptile house is no different, though I have trouble finding proper enclosure photos for that one.
     
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  9. agnmeln

    agnmeln Well-Known Member

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    What a category for these two to pull! I really can’t call it!
     
  10. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    I've not been to Burgers (unfortunately - it's one of my top 5 zoos in Europe that I want to visit and haven't been to yet) so thanks to @lintworm for the summary, but I feel like Wroclaw should win this category easily.

    @sooty mangabey has already given a summary, but here's another one:

    The reptile house is absolutely enormous. There's a huge ground floor and two big balconies as well. The building looks impressive and the collection is mind-mindbogglingly extensive. I spent 3 hours in that building on my last visit and felt rushed. Just as an example, there are two rows of at least a dozen terrariums each just for geckos. As far as the enclosures go, they are mostly fine imo, apart from the tortoise enclosures and some of the enclosures for the bigger snakes and small caimans which are mostly too small. There is also a newly done Komodo Dragon house attached to this which is really rather good.
    Also worth noting, that the reptile house includes several dozen terrariums for amphibians (including a fantastic tank for caecilians with various freshwater tropical fish like tetras and angels) and a fairly standard butterfly house walkthrough.

    There are further reptiles, amphibians and insects dotted around the zoo including in the Madagascar House, Sahara House, and of course the Afrykarium. Most notable in the Afrykarium are Nile Crocs and (Green? - I forget) Sea Turtle.

    Then for the fish. There is a tropical fish house with some very pretty aquascaped freshwater tanks and saltwater tanks from small home aquaria sized to decently big with the standard large freshwater fish assortment and a variety of species including a large number of oddities. This would make a decent aquarium building on its own, but nearby is their native fish section which is one of the nicer ones I've seen (the only one off the top of my head that beats it is the one at Plzen). It's really attractively done with above water and underwater viewing. For example, one of the tanks is the water area for the eider enclosure which you then go down below to the underwater viewing bit and see that the water area is really deep with various large fish in it.

    And there are of course more fish in Afrykarium. This is divided between a Red Sea tank (really nicely done - you start at a beach with tortoises at ground level and then descend down to the full depth of the Red Sea tank to end up at the level for hippo underwater viewing), various reptiles and fish in the African Swamp section, fish in the underwater area for the Hippos, the Mozambique Channel shark tank with an impressive diversity of sharks and rays, two massive lake Malawi and Tanganyika tanks, a dozen or so small tanks in the Skeleton Coast area, and various fish in the Congo section.

    Relevant water volumes for the Afrykarium: Red Sea tank 900,000 litres
    Shark Pool (Mozambique Channel): 3.1 million litres
    Crocodile pool: 260,000 litres

    I know a lot of Burgers' exhibitry is rather ingenious, but the Afrykarium has a lot of very cool elements as well.

    Should be an easy win for Wroclaw.
     
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  11. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    I concur with Sooty and LaughingDove. This is a win for Wroclaw: the only category in which they could possibly have beaten Burgers.

    Burgers Ocean is very impressive, but I felt the execution didn't match that zoo's otherwise extraordinary high standard. The bioluminescence tank, for instance, was a cool idea utterly let down by a failure to consider the surrounding environment: something as small as a black curtain encasing the space would have made it work so much better. I also thought that the coral tank, enormous though it was, isn't as visually joyful an experience as smaller, more grounded tanks in Hamburg and Berlin.

    I will credit the Mangrove for being one of three truly exceptional butterfly houses in the Netherlands, but despite being brand new it's no *better* than the other two, and that feels relevant in a zoo that otherwise never settles for matching standards when it can exceed them instead. I will single out the mudflats section with the horseshoe crabs, though: that's one of the best single invert exhibits in Europe.

    Burgers' chief weakness in this omnibus category, though, is the lack of a significant reptile presence. That's a theme across Europe, I found, but one place that doesn't conform to that theme is Wroclaw, which has the most bountiful collection of reptiles I've visited, barring only San Diego. No, the enclosures aren't amazing. They don't match the continental standards set by Basel, Zurich, Vienna, Berlin Zoo and Cologne, and I'd put Zagreb ahead of them too. But they're not 'bad', they're just slightly old-fashioned. I typically lean towards the aesthetic side rather than species counts, but Wroclaw has over 80 species of lizards on display, and that impresses even me.

    So the question, then, becomes whether Oceans is so much better than the Afrykarium and sundry other aquatic exhibits at Wroclaw to compensate for the latter's dominance on reptiles. And I genuinely don't think it is. Afrykarium doesn't reinvent any wheels, and its best points, the outdoor exhibits for penguins and sea lions, are out of scope for this contest. But I feel like Afrykarium's aquatic exhibits hit the same notes, if with less ambition, that Oceans' does. Throw in the two other buildings, including the lovely complex themed on the local river Oder, and Wroclaw is at least par with Burgers in aquatics.

    Game, set, match. Wroclaw.
     
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  12. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    This is all cracking stuff, and I can't wait until the later rounds where these 'Titan meets Goliath' matchups will become almost routine.
    In this case both zoos are on my most wanted list and I'll follow the debate closely.
     
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  13. korhoen

    korhoen Well-Known Member

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    While a lot has already been said by @lintworm, I also want to make a case for Burgers' here (even though I haven't visited Wroclaw yet and I'm obviously biased:D).

    Ectotherms is probably the last category you would think of when considering the strengths of Burgers', but I think it still has a lot to go for it, even though it might not always be obvious at first sight, both in species present and in the way they are exhibited.

    So let's start with the reptiles and amphibians. This group is one of the most underrepresented groups in terms of number of species at Burgers', but they still hold some rather nice species in good enclosures. For example, the rattlesnake species Burgers' holds (Crotalus ruber) is only kept at two other public collections in Europe and the exhibit they are in, with the campsite and the peccary enclosure backdrop, makes for a unique display. The other "enclosed" reptiles and amphibians, like the Indian water monitors and reticulated pythons in the Rimba, the gilamonsters and Colorado toads in the Desert, the green tree pythons in the birdhouse and the tortoises, turtles (who make for a great display on the beach with the capibara and whistling ducks) and caiman in the Bush, are all kept in spacious and good looking enclosures. A real strength of Burgers' on reptile- and amphibian-terrain are the free-ranging species. There is something really special about turning a corner in the Bush and suddenly seeing a huge male green iguana crawling out of the undergrowth, or spotting one of the hundreds of Guadeloupean anoles (kept in only one other public collection according to ZTL). The Montserrat whistling frogs are hard to spot due to their small size (I doubt if they would be easy to spot in a more conventional exhibit), but they certainly are present and can be heard when walking through the Bush late in the afternoon or when the zoo is open in the evening.

    Fish are a group the zoo has a lot more species of, and I consider saltwater fish a real strength of the zoo. Burgers' Ocean is ofcourse the largest and most obvious display of fish in the zoo, so let's start there. The Ocean is themed as if it was the journey of a diver through a coral reef somewhere in the Indian/Pacific Ocean, starting at the beach and than slowly progressing through the lagoon, to the inner reef, than the outer reef and ending at a harbour. Burgers' keeps a huge collection of reef fish, both large and small. The obvious stars of the aquarium are the cartilaginous fish, of which they keep such species as scalloped hammerhead, blacktip shark, giant shovelnose ray, epauletted shark, blue-spotted stingray and spotted eagle ray. The bony fish department is ofcourse also really good, but I know too little about fish to comment on rarity of species. The real strength of the Ocean are the displays. I don't know of an aquarium in which the displays give such a good image of the ecosystem they are displaying as here. I could spend hours at the living coral tank and discover something new everytime, for example the huge shoals of cardinal fish living between the coral, or the gobies on the floor of the tank, or the sight of a stingray slowly gliding over the coral or...I could go on for sometime, it is simply an amazing display.
    The freshwater fish in Burgers' are a little less obvious than their saltwater counterparts, but the zoo still keeps some interesting species. There are for example the freshwater rays and redtail catfish in with the caiman, the pacu in with the capybara and the tilapia in one of the streams in the Bush; and there are the already huge shoals of South-American fish in with the manatees in the Mangrove.

    And finally there are the invertebrates. They are not always obvious, but Burgers' still keeps quite an impressive collection, mainly in the Ocean. There, the huge amount of living corals, sea urchins, anemones, sea snails, shrimps, sea cucumbers and other lower animals are a very important part of the displays and I think it is a real strength of Burgers' that they also give these animals the attention they deserve in the signage. Burgers' also does a huge amount of scientific research on the biology and breeding of corals (and also the breeding of coral fish) together with several Dutch universities. Other obvious invertebrates in the zoo are found in the Desert, with displays for tarantulas, scorpions and cave crickets, and in the Mangrove, where the mud flat with the fiddler crabs and horseshoe crabs makes for a unique and very entertaining display, together with the large number of butterflies. Invertebrates that are less obvious are found in the Bush, where the ants, millipedes, cockroaches etc. are a very important part of the ecosystem, even though visitors will probably never see them.

    All in all, I think that while Burgers' is beaten on size and comprehensiveness of it's reptile and amphibian collection, it is as good or better than Wroclaw in the saltwater fish and invertebrate departement, and I think Burgers' deserves extra points for the uniqueness of it's displays. So in the end, I think Burgers' should win this.
     
  14. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    I'm curious to hear if there is anyone who has visited both zoos but is voting for Burgers? I know sooty and CGSwans have visited both, but they've both voted Wroclaw.
     
  15. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    I've also visited both......... but can only vote for Wroclaw. Others have pointed out it's significant merits but I would also mention that it has a fair display of inverts too (beetles, mantises, spiders, stick insects -more variety of all of these than I have seen anywhere else).

    Voting on other categories (especially primates) might have been close (or in Burgers favour) but, if I'm using the criteria which of the two places I (or most zoo nerds I know) would go to for ectotherms, there's no contest. Which is a shame (I love Burgers) but them's the rules and them's the breaks.

    I've missed a football analogy from Sooty on this one. :D
     
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  16. Vision

    Vision Well-Known Member

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    I will. Not an easy victory, but it has to be Burgers for me.

    Lintworm and Korhoen basically captured it perfectly; the aquarium is absolutely wonderful and beautifully demonstrates how variable sea life can be. The bush is a fantastic ecosystem, that although it focuses on birds, also has many reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. The mangrove has to be one of the biggest (certainly one of the best) butterfly walkthrough halls in Europe or the world, and the open-topped gigantic crab enclosure is truly a thing of its own (and will be even better when/if they introduce the upside-down jellyfish, as is planned).

    Wroclaw probably has many more, and probably much rarer species, but while they excel on herps and fish, their invertebrate collection is definitely behind Burgers'. The freshwater river section is beautiful and a fantastic exhibit, but the older aquarium didn't do much for me display-wise. The aquarium section of the Afrykarium is fantastic, but doesn't beat Burgers' Ocean.
    The reptile house is what threatens Burgers most, I feel, but I honestly didn't think too much of it on my visit (even though I did go through and list all species, and photograph most). My main problem with it is that all exhibits are so unimaginative; almost all of the exhibits on the balconies (and most on the ground floor) are just endless rows of glass tanks, each decorated decently enough, but without the sufficient signage or immersion to truly get the visitor's attention. Add in the fact that that house's hallways are way too narrow for the amount of people in it on a sunny summer day, and instead of being intrigued to learn more about the species you're looking at you're just moving along to the next.

    Obviously I'm exaggerating the good parts of Burgers and the bad parts of Wroclaw here a little bit, but I feel Burgers does their best to try and teach people about how these animals live in the wild (with many walkthrough and combination enclosures), whereas Wroclaw only intends to show as many species as possible (most of them in seperate tanks).

    Does anybody have a list of the invertebrates at both collections? I get the gap in amount of species might actually be a lot closer than expected, when you take Burgers' massive coral collection into consideration...
     
    Last edited: 25 Mar 2018
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  17. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

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    I’m with Vision and korhoen here. Based off of what I’ve seen of Wroclaw (yet to visit, September should be when I get over there) there’s size and species list, but exhibit wise the Mangrove and Ocean at Burgers’ just wow me every time. And I’ve been visiting nearly my entire life.

    A really close call, but out of loyalty, I’m sticking with Burgers’.
     
  18. TZDugong

    TZDugong Well-Known Member

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    I think my vote is going towards Wroclaw although it is very close

    The Burgers Ocean looks simply spectacular and I remember being awed by it when I saw it on the television series, Ultimate Zoo. In terms of sheer gallons of water, it must be one of the biggest zoo aquariums. Seeing the free-roaming reptiles, Amphibians, etc in Burgers Bush would be incredible and great for the inhabitants. To top it all of they have a supposedly excellent mixed crab habitat and a very good butterfly hall.

    From reading that paragraph alone, it would seem obvious that I would vote for Burgers, but one thing puts Wroclaw ahead. This thing is the fact that the zoo has 80+ lizard species. Lizards are easily my favourite type of reptile and too have so many different kinds is mind-boggling awesome, even if the exhibits are pedestrian. Also at Wroclaw are the fish in the gargantuan Afrykarium, the supposedly excellent Oder River exhibit, and a multitude of other reptilian species in the Reptile house.

    If I wasn’t such a large fan of lizards I think Burgers would have won due to the incredible exhibitry, but with Lizards Wroclaw ekes by. This matchup was very close for me, and I’ll be sad to see either contestant lose.
     
  19. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    It’s Argentina 1986 - a truly brilliant side, with at least one stand-out performer - against Brazil, 1970 (possibly the only team that could have beaten them).
     
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  20. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

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    Are you saying Wroclaw’s reptile house is a brilliant cheater, or Burgers’ Ocean? :p if it’s the latter, would that mean that Ocean is the ‘fin of God’......
     
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