Sunday, February 26, 2012

Toronto Zoo Structures Revisited--Megan, Let's Consider Before We Invest A Lot Of Money

Australasia Pavilion built in 1974

African Rainforest Pavilion built in 1974

These beautiful pavilion's at the Toronto Zoo were the first structures I remember seeing when I first toured the zoo in 1976. So impressive and breathtaking. Little did I know...........

Of course, the architects never had to deal with changing those light bulbs or replacing glass or trimming tops of trees...or humping bales of hay and wheelbarrows up and down stairs to underground animal holdings every day...;) looks pretty...but the logistics of working in it weren't the best...for animals or staff.
Heating those buildings were difficult in Canadian winters too, along with cooling in summer.

Natural plantings also make it more difficult for pest control, since you can't use many of the usual pest products around such a mixture of exotic species in one building, but that's just a normal trade-off for having natural exhibits.

Here's a tip if you ever plan to build a zoo...
Don't quarantine your plant collection in Florida before delivery, where Palmetto Cockroaches can lay egg sacs inside plants....unless you want to introduce millions of those every geographic region of your zoo...;)

Many outbuildings had logistical problems too, since hiding them behind hills from the public resulted in mudslides into buildings or gates buried in mud, after

herds of hooves chewed up the nice grassy hills. Snow tends to fill up those areas too, along with moats.
Drains at the lowest point of any pool surrounded by dirt looks great until animals start digging in it and/or dragging stuff into the pools too. Just hiding hoses and tools and drain keys from the public in underground areas can also make working fairly inefficient and awkward.
So yeah....there's something to be said for the old concrete exhibits when it comes to logistics and sanitation...since dirt and parasites or other diseases don't make the best partners....but natural is still nicer to look at, in spite of the problems it creates.

'I am reminded of a fiction story in an International Zoo Yearbook(don't recall which year) in which the author had an architectural firm built a new state of the art hippo exhibit without consulting zoo staff or curators as they "lacked the proper education for design and construction." Upon completion of the world class facility they were never able to use it, as the architect had designed the pool drain 6 inches off the bottom of the pool. :)

Years ago, I was telling our welder how to build a new cage scrapper for me. I told him I wanted a one inch ball welded on the end so if the tigers grabbed the scrapper from one of the men, they could not pull it out of their hands. The owner of the animals, overhearing our conversation walked up and told the welder "he" preferred a hook on the end of the scrapper like a shepherds crock. I explained that in close quarters, like a small building or small tent, a hook would entangle it's self on anything piled along the wall or on the sidewall/ropes of the tent. The owner insisted that as they were his animals and he was paying for the scrapper he could have what kind of scrapper he wanted built. I looked him right in the eye's and asked, "Have you ever cleaned out a tiger cage, or do you ever intend on cleaning one out anytime soon?" I got the scrapper with one inch ball on the end. :)'

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