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  • Written by Lajos Endrédi
  • Category: Design
  • Hits: 48475

The Seven New Wonders of Zoos

Seven wonders of zoosMaking a zoo is not a cheap business; operating and developing projects have required huge amounts of money since the earliest ages. Zoos have to meet the demands of their respective societies; in the modern age they have to attract visitors to achieve their goals and to make a profit. The newly established complex exhibition systems of the recent decades are not only spectacular but also provide suitable habitats and an emphasized natural atmosphere for the animals. The original idea behind this kind of versatile exhibition is not new of course; it came from Hagenbeck’s zoo in Hamburg, but in the modern era it has been refined to be even more perfect and interactive. However, these new developments are more expensive than anything before. Usually the zoos cannot raise enough money from their operating budgets to accomplish these grandiose projects by themselves, so they need financial support in addition to their annual budgets. The governments are often the sources of this support, so eventually the taxpayers who may visit these zoos in the future finance their development.  This is especially true for the United States, where sponsors play a crucial role in raising funds. In exchange, the zoos indicate the main sponsors in the names of the new exhibits. Finally, there is an adventurous kind of investment: taking loans… in this case I don’t envy the managers during the early years.

  • Written by Tamás Veress
  • Category: Design
  • Hits: 5397

From Cage to Biotope

An overview of the evolution of zoo exhibits

Masoala Rainforest in Zürich Zoo (photo: elajos)The design of an animal exhibit is extremely important for zoos in many aspects. Naturally, it is important to provide suitable conditions for the animals, and to create an exhibit with which we can ensure to send the zoo’s message to visitors. This is the reason why many types of zoo exhibits have formed in recent decades.

In the 19th century the main goal of zoos was only to present animals to visitors. Accordingly, the design of the cages was very simple, primarily using iron bars and concrete walls. The main criteria were visible animals and strong security.

  • Written by Lajos Endrédi
  • Category: Design
  • Hits: 5083

Guinea Pig Train in Zoo Győr, Hungary

Guinea pig train in Zoo Győr (photo source: www.zoogyor.com)Often a good idea can outshine huge investments; you don’t need very special, rare species to attract visitors. For example when I saw the new wonder, the guinea pig train of Zoo Győr on video for the first time, I was laughing for minutes. Simple, based on the natural behaviour of animals, and very spectacular – do you need more than this in a zoo? I asked Dr. György Andréka, the director of the zoo about this exhibit. I was especially interested in how the idea came. His reply showed the new way of information sharing in the zoo world, the power of web-based knowledge: he saw this kind of train on video sharing sites. Actually he was looking for something else – katanas for kendo – on Japanese sites, but finally he found himself attracted by these videos shared by visitors of zoos in Japan. Why couldn’t we do it? The decision was followed by action and the planning of the new exhibit began shortly.

  • Written by Lajos Endrédi
  • Category: Design
  • Hits: 7150

Through the Eyes of a Visitor: an Organic Zoo in Poland

Western lowland gorilla in Opole Zoo (photo: elajos)It was a long drive to Wroclaw, site of the EAZA conference. What would have been a better idea for refreshing ourselves than taking a break at a zoo? Opole Zoo was the closest to the route, so visiting it was beyond question. I have never been there before; all I heard about it was that a tragic flood almost destroyed the zoo in 1997. This short trip proved to be very useful eventually; I got to know a very impressive and atmospheric zoo, which could be an example for any zoo situated in a similar natural environment.

  • Written by Tibor Tóth
  • Category: Design
  • Hits: 8668

The Invisible World in Amsterdam

In the laboratory of Micropia laboratory technicians make cultures of micro-organisms. Photo Micropia, Maarten van der WalI confess, when I hear news about a brand new zoo development (that quickly became world-famous), I imagine a large and special building with green enclosure(s) and, of course, with interesting or rare animals. In most cases, that is the case. However, since I visited the Royal Artis Zoo's newest project four months after the opening, I see the world in a different way than before.                                                                        

  • Written by Krisztian Svabik
  • Category: Design
  • Hits: 13283

An Example of Activity-Based Zoo Exhibit Design: A Review of the Wild Asia’s Elephant Exhibit at Taronga Zoo

Short Description of the Exhibit

Asian elephant (photo: Christian)In January, ZooLex (ZooLex Zoo Design Organization, www.zoolex.org) presented the Wild Asia’s Elephant Exhibit at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia. It is worth mentioning that this one is the tenth elephant exhibit readable on the website. Wild Asia is a themed multispecies exhibit with Asian rainforest animal species which covers a bit more than one hectare and was opened for the public in 2005. The whole exhibit space is divided into two thematic zones: the urban riverside village on one hand and animal enclosures with immersion trails on the other, so the visitors can explore the area both from the aspects of naturalistic environments and human cultural settings. The area simulates an Asiatic rainforest background, featuring both plants and animals typical of South East Asia.

Visitors can find several mammal species here, like Malayan tapirs (Tapirus indicus), Asian small-clawed otters (Aonyx cinerea), fishing cats (Prionailurus viverrinus), binturongs (Arctictis binturong), chitals (Axis axis), silvery gibbons (Hylobates moloch), Francois langurs (Trachypithecus francoisi) and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

Enter the zoo world!