Zoological Collections - Zoo Design


Why is Zoo Design important?

  • integral components of an animal collections design
  • affects visitor reaction or impression
  • convey messages
    • about conditions, species requirements, and way of life
  • need to look after the physiological and psychological needs of species
  • appearance affects visitor reaction to an animal or impression of the collection
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Overall Zoo Design

  • visitor experience
  • daily zoo management
  • efficient function
  • educational
  • not all zoos are designed in the same way
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Random Style

  • unordered
  • older zoos that have been added to over  time
  • dependent on species choice and money
  • many at least started this way
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Taxonomic Order

  • e.g., bird, reptile, hoofstock sections
  • commonly used
  • can be educational to see differences in similar animals
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Biotope Layout

  • kept with species from the same habitat
  • educational
  • can be hard to manage
    • keepers need to have a variety of skills and work with a variety of animals
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Zoo Geographic Design

  • geographic distribution of animal's past and present
  • native animal collections
  • educational on own country's history
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What should a zoo have?

  • public facilities
    • toilets
  • cafe's and restaurants
  • quarantine/off show areas
  • staff facilities
  • viewing areas
  • management areas
  • medical areas
  • kitchens
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  • a non-profit organisation registered in Vienna
  • relies on the support of sponsors for funding
  • the objectives of Zoolex are:
    • publishing and disseminating information relating to zoo design
    • promoting appropriate holding conditions for wild animals in captivity
    • providing balanced technical information and advice about zoo design
    • support research and vocational training related to zoo design
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Naturalistic vs. Immersive

  • Naturalistic
    • natural habitat
    • size
    • natural behaviours
    • little human contact
    • privacy
    • noise reduction
    • complaints? 
  • Immersive
    • viewing areas
    • human contact
    • privacy
    • adaptations of animals
    • safety
    • education
    • focus on allowing the public to get as close as possible to the animal, and are sometimes within the animal's habitat
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What makes a successful enclosure? ANIMAL

  • there should be elements for animals, staff and visitors
  • animals
    • Five Animal Needs
    • no 'one size fits all'
    • the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) and the Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco) both suffer from iron storage disease
    • The pig-tailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina) and the stump-tailed macaque (Macaca arctoides) look visually similar, but when introducing enrichment, in the form of visual barriers, aggression is increased in pig-tailed macaques, but reduced in stump-tailed macaques.
    • environmental factors, such as climate and day length pose more demands on the biology of the animal
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What makes a successful enclosure? KEEPERS

  • keepers
    • need to maintain the welfare of the animals by cleaning, feeding, watering, enriching, introducing new animals, catching and restraining animals, training, administering medical treatment. Keepers also educate the public and nowadays are taking on more media roles.
    • if drains are placed at the bottom of a slope water will naturally run into them, but placed anywhere else water has to be moved into them by hand by keepers.
    • easy to clean exhibits
    • consideration of how staff can move animals safely within the enclosure
    • providing easy access into enclosures for staff and, where necessary, vehicles
    • staff must be trained appropriately
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What makes a successful enclosure? VISITORS

  • need to know their motivation for visiting zoos to provide for visitors
  • in the USA a study by Kellert (1979) was conducted that found out the main reasons people visited zoos was the educate their children, have a fun day out, to see the animals and to be around wildlife
  • need to provide educational resources and good views of the animals
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  • follow at least the minimum guidelines - SSSMZP
  • mesh fencing provides additional movement space above ground level
  • habitat type
  • proximity to enclosures
  • if the enclosure is circular/rounded, it prevents cornering of animals in higher aggression species
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  • balance indoor/outdoor enclosure space - amount of time animal will be spending indoors (UK Weather)
  • remebmber off show indoor areas if animals are breeding or sick
  • indoor, potential separation of animals at night
  • horticultural elements
    • sustainable timber and compost, growing own plants
    • minimal use of herbicides and only against invasive species such as Japanese knotweed
      • very targeted to prevent it entering the soil
    • no fertiliser use because of the threat to waterways
    • machinery uses non-diesal fuels
    • recycling
    • saving water
      • correct species
      • planting at the correct time of year
    • ensure new plants are sustainable
  • landscape design
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  • Temperature - gradients, heat spots, access to shade, air conditioning, hibernation
    • extremes in temperature can cause frostbite or heatstroke in animals
    • can increase stereotypical behaviour if incorrect
      • thought to increase stereotypies in Asian elephants
    • artificial climate control is expensive, especially if the temperature varies drastically between the animal's natural habitat and where they are being housed
    • temperature gradients can be achieved by localised heating and cooling and altering ventilation
  • Lighting - natural preferable, artificial match needs of species e.g., reverse lighting can affect health and behaviour (photoperiod)
    •  be thought of in terms of intensity and type
    • exposure to different wavelengths of light can be important for animals
    • sources of UV light are necessary for the health and behaviour of several species
      • some animals can see UV wavelengths, such as birds, reptiles, and insects, as well as some species of marsupial and rodent
    • most windows do not allow the transmission of the full spectrum of light
  • humidity - high/low, tropical/desert. Warm and damp - fungal growth, dry affects shedding
    • a lack of humidity in mammals has been seen to result in skin problems
    • high humidity can increase disease transmission
    • often misters are used to keep humidity at a suitable level
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Correct Animal Numbers

  • sex ratios
    • sex-ratio biases can occur in population because there is an uneven sex ratio of offspring born or because during their lifetime survivorship is supported in one sex more than the other
    • for some species there are adaptive advantages to producing either male or female offspring depending on their life history, rank, or availability of resources, for example, females in good condition will have male offspring
  • overall natural group size
  • compatible species (when mixed)
  • breeding opportunities
  • inbreeding
    • correct studbook management
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  • energy efficient
  • water conservation
  • green roofs
  • locally sourced materials
  • recycled materials
  • light bulbs
  • biofuels
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  • suitable plants
  • suitable terrain
  • water features
  • visibility
  • aesthetically pleasing
  • increase enclosure usage
  • immersive
  • shelters 
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  • to keep zoo species in their enclosure
  • to stop people getting into the enclosure
  • to allow maximum viewing
  • to limit stress to the animal
  • to form part of the immersive experience
  • to allow keepers to work safely and effectively around the animals (this includes hands on, catch up and training)
  • consider visibility between animals and their neighbours (sometimes this can be beneficial), whether the animals can burrow or climb, does the barrier prevent offspring leaving the exhibit
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Barriers: Solid Barriers

  • can include wooden fence panels, brick walls, glass or acrylic and hedges
  • Advantages:
    • for the animal: depending on ehight it can provide safety, prevents disease transmission
    • for the keeper: separates animals and prevents visitors from feeding animals
  • Disadvantages:
    • animal: can lead to injury if animals collide with it. And prevent viewing of surroundings, may affect communication between animals.
    • keeper: can prevent view of the animal
    • visitors: obstructs views of animals
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Barriers: Partial Barriers

  • can include metal posts, electric strands, chain link, weld mesh or netting
  • advantages:
    • for the animals: can provide greater usable space
    • for the keeper: can aid introductions
    • for the visitor: can restrict viewing which makes a glimpse of the animal more exciting 
  • disadvantages: 
    • for the visitor: can obstruct views, although new materials are less obvious, considered 'unnatural' and does not prevent human-animal interaction
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Barriers: Bars

  • advantages:
    • for the animals: can provide greater usable space
    • for the keepers: can facilitate keepers escape from the ecnlosure in an emergency, dependent on whether bars are horizontal or vertical
  • disadvantages:
    • for the visitors: associated with negative connotations of animal welfare, considered 'unnatural', can obstruct views, does not prevent human-animal interaction
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Barriers: Netting and Mesh

  • can include metal, nylon and combination of the two
  • advantages:
    • for the animals: can provide greater usable space
    • for the keepers: can accomodate any shape
    • for the visitors: can be plastic-coated or painted to reduce visibility
  • disadvantages:
    • for the animals: could become tangled
    • for the keepers: metal can rust even under plastic coatings, UPVC can become brittle in the sun after long exposure, can be eaten through by pest species such as squirrels
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Barriers: Electric

  • advantages:
    • for the animals: can learn to avoid it
    • for the keepers: easily create temporary barriers, cheap
    • for the public: good visibility
  • disadvantages:
    • for the animals: not visible so can get injured,can get entangled in it, a deterrent so not 'fool-proof'
    • for the keepers: some body parts do not conduct electricity (e.g., antlers, horns, hair)
    • for the visitors: needs to be well signed as a hazard and out of public reach
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Barriers: Glass

o   Advantages

§  For the animals: prevents disease transmission, laminated glass provides climate control, double glazing provides noise reduction

§  For the keepers: using acrylic and glass is very strong

§  For the visitors: provides a good view

o   Disadvantages

§  For the animal: Close proximity between animals and visitors

§  For the keepers: needs regular washing, expensive

§  For the visitors: visibility can be reduced if the glass is scratched, if it is sunny or if there is condensation

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Barriers: Moat

  • Advantages
    • For the animals: some animals may use the water or objects in it
    • For the keepers: wet moats can be used as habitats for other species
    • For the visitors: provides ‘naturalistic’ view, invisible barrier between species
  • Disadvantages
    • For the animals: animal can fall into the moat and get trapped, water can provide a route for disease transmission, a lot of space is required which cannot be used by the animals in most situations
    • For the keepers: dry moats can flood, wet moats can freeze, need a method of access to the animals and/or enclosure safely, some animals can still get across moats
    • For the visitors: increases distance between the visitors and the animals, which can reduce visibility
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Barrier Types

  • Fences
  • Moats/water
  • Posts and bars
  • Glass
  • Netting
  • Wire
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Materials and Substrate

  • What are the properties we are looking for in enclosure materials?
  • Where are they sourced from?
  • Substrates
    • Can affect behaviour and health, grass vs gravel (foraging), abrasive (hooves/bumblefoot), sand (dust bath or dig), rubber matting (warmth), water (filtration)
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Habitat Features

  • Enrichment
  • Natural habitat
  • What habitat features might we see in a zoo enclosure?
  • Why are these features important?
  • Should they be natural looking?
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Behaviour Factors

  • Territorial
    • Do the animals need to be separate and have their own territories?
    • Are they territorial as a group?
    • Proximity to other enclosures
  • Hierarchical
    • Enough space for everyone to be able to sleep and eat
  • Social interaction
    • If they have to be split up physically can they still be close so they can interact?
  • Reproduction
    • Do they need to be separated once the young arrives?
    • Can the male and female be together all the time?
  • Nocturnal/diurnal
    • Lighting
    • Can use artificial lighting to allow public to see nocturnal animals awake
  • Hibernation
    • How do we allow them to hibernate?
    • Is it safe to stop them from hibernating?
  • Migration
    • How does not being able to migrate affect them?
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