Monday, August 11, 2014

Zoos of the Future

tnplus9 Zoos throughout the country have been recently struggling to stay afloat. Some of the most famous zoos in the world such as the Bronx Zoo, Oregon Zoo and the San Diego Zoo have not been generating enough revenue to support their extremely expensive exhibits. Exposes like Blackfish have left people wary about supporting organizations that keep animals confined in small, unnatural habitats. However this does not necessarily mean the end of all zoos, the trend just calls for them to adapt and evolve.

Recently, Danish architecture firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) has released a batch of revolutionary designs and drawings of their latest project, Zootopia. This plan, created especially for the Givskud Zoo in central Denmark, will revamp the 300-acre complex. It will be divided into numerous open range sections for American, Asian and African ecosystems. Visitors will be able to observe the areas from a high perimeter wall or even view the animals by bike, boat, truck or car.

Although the plan has numerous kinks and problems to work out, it is an exciting step in the progression of zoo design. BIG is not the only organization that has been taking steps to reinvent the zoo experience to make it more humane and educational. The Paris Zoo reponed only a few months ago with new large “biozones” over smaller enclosures for individual species.

Another idea is to construct “vertical zoos,” particularly concerning wild birds, which will mean an open tower providing plenty of food, shelter and foliage for migratory passing birds. Visitors would be able to observe the traveling avian wildlife as they pass through.

Webcam zoos, such as the nonprofit has dozens of cameras set up around the world which film different species in the wild. It would allow viewers to spy on a snowy owl family in its natural habitat than in a tiny aviary at a zoo.

An extremely futuristic approach is to replace biological animals with artificial doppelgangers. Zoos packed with cloned animals are another option planners are considering. The possibilities for these more humane zoos appear endless.

Although the traditional zoos we have come to know have been hit hard, the ideas for zoos of the future are proving to be equally entertaining and enjoyable. They also have the added advantage of removing the guilt that comes with seeing an animal in caged captivity. The possibilities are exciting and endless zoos of the future.

from Nature and Outdoors Blog | Samantha Krahenbuhl

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