650 South R.L. Thornton Freeway
, Dallas Texas 75203
Bamboo Forest, SSP, Southeast Asia, Tiger, breeding, cats
The exhibit is a landscape-based walkthrough environment composed of two exterior habitats with a central viewing structure and holding building. The exhibit theme is "endangered tigers". The visitor ventures off the main zoo roadways onto a path which leads beyond the logging roads into a bamboo grove. Immediately, the visitor comes to a viewblind located on the edge of the logging road that appears to run through the tiger habitat. The view is up the logged valley, to the encroaching civilization. As the trail meanders through the wetlands and bamboo, the traveller has "chance" views of seeing tigers through gaps between "bamboo" stalks as they wander the large main enclosure. The trail exits onto a main road where the bustle of the zoo and primate exhibits take over the experience of the deep jungle. The visitor is offered another opportunity to experience the world of the tiger as a Thai "sala" welcomes the visitor. Along a bridge across the center of a valley the visitor approaches a cluster of traditional Thai buildings that provide interpretive and viewing opportunities of both the main habitat and the smaller, future habitat. Upon exiting the exhibit buildings, a dramatic sculpture expresses the Tiger, on the brink of extinction.
The valley area is over 8500 m2 in size where the tigers are given over 1672 m2 in habitat #1 and when completed, 929 m2 in habitat #2. The rest is given over to a large holding building (336 m2) with outdoor off-exhibit holding yards, service yards and access roads. Additionally, the visitor trails extend over 250 m in length, passing through a small view blind, bridges and boardwalks and onto the 129 m2 viewing structure.
Space allocation in square meters:
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USD 3,400,000 including 14 % for design.
The design was funded by a grant from the Exxon Corporation, Save the Tiger Foundation. Construction was funded through the City of Dallas Department of Parks and Recreation Capital Fund.
8 May 1999
Beginning: June 1996
- Exhibit Design/Landscape Architecture:
Ursa International, Atlanta, Georgia
- Architecture: F&S Partners, Dallas, Texas
- MEP Consultant: Gaynor and Sirmen, Dallas, Texas
- Civil Consultant: Albert Halff Associates, Dallas, Texas
- Structural Consultant: Jaster-Quintanilla and Associates, Dallas, Texas
Beginning: September 1997
- General Contractor: C.F. Jordon, Dallas, Texas
The intention for the plant material selection was to create a wet tropical Teak forest habitat after logging occured. This landscape would be in a state of succession through a bamboo grove to a secondary growth forest. The major clearings were shallow wetlands along the center of the site with forest returning to the sloping sides of the exhibit.
The plant list specifies the Latin names of the plants used for this exhibit.
FEATURES DEDICATED TO ANIMALS:
The management building for the exhibit provides access from seven large rooms to either exhibit via two transfer chutes or into two large off-exhibit pens. On exhibit, the 60m long x 28m wide exhibit provides sun and shade, shallow pools with deep channels, running streams with hot rocks, perching rocks, and climbing/clawing trees as well as a walking road that traverses the exhibit. In the holding building, skylights provide natural light, various benches offer resting perches and a major air conditioning system provides a cool, comfortable environment while off exhibit.
FEATURES DEDICATED TO KEEPERS:
The keeper areas provide double door vestibules and clear sightlines at main transfer areas which help maintain a safe working environment with visible access to all tiger areas. This also allows for easy training opportunities and health monitoring of these dangerous creatures. Stainless steel and aluminum caging, epoxy coated floors and walls, and access to water and drains make for an easy to clean environment, free from rusting metals and bacteria buildup. Keeper office, food preparation, restrooms and showers allow for a high standard of care. Keeper access to the exhibit perimeter is controlled from visitors and allows for enrichment and training to occur both inside and out.
FEATURES DEDICATED TO VISITORS:
The visitors are treated to observe tiger behavior as they may encounter them in the wild. Viewing experiences maintain a high level of "chance" encounters along the trails, while providing a high level of certainty at the viewing building overlook. Interpretive graphics and artifacts provide numerous educational opportunities for all levels of visitor interest. Visitors are treated to a rich cultural experience relating the Southeast Asian tigers to their homeland human culture, making the link between protection of the species and habitat preservation.
Various forms of interpretation provide information about the tiger's plight in Southeast Asia and other homelands of tigers in the wild. This exhibit portrays environmental reality, not an idealized representation of the tiger's world. The message is that the tigers' forested habitat is being severely affected by humans. Remnant of an old logging road in the exhibit show man's intrusion. Discovery events are along the trail; Braille tactile graphic panels describe how tigers stalk and kill their prey. Along the trails, biological artifacts show the physical structure of tigers as well for our sight impaired visitors. In "Tiger Village", two viewing /educational buildings are raised 4.6m (15ft) above the terrain in traditional Southeast Asian architectural style. The first building addresses conservation problems and solutions, including habitat loss, competition for resources, hunting and cultural influences. A large electronic range map discusses historic and present range of tigers around the world. The other building focuses on tiger behavior, conservation efforts by Exxon, the Dallas Zoo and other zoos to "Save the Tiger" and what our visitors can do to help. There is an interactive video game with "The Conservation Puzzle", and "Can You Build a Habitat?" giving visitors an understanding of what it takes to save the tiger, encouraging visitors to support these programs. Cultural artifacts, prints, patterns and sounds provide a connection between the people of Southeast Asia and their wildlife, through history. A powerful sculpture depicts the tiger on the brink of extinction as an exit message upon leaving the exhibit.
Training and behavioral enrichment practices where considered and integrated into the design of the exhibit. Keepers maintain visual contact at numerous points to facilitate interaction and stimulation for the tigers. Easy rotation opportunities provide keepers with the ability to transfer tigers from one exhibit to another. The flexible design of the exhibit and facilities allows for multi-pair management of tigers. The exhibit opened with a potential breeding pair of zoo-born Sumatran tigers recommended by SSP. Three juvenile Indochinese tigers (SSP) were added in May 2000. The two subspecies rotate on and off the exhibit on alternate days.
Behavioral research is ongoing under the direction of the inhouse research department. Various enrichment and training exercises are practiced in the daily operation of the exhibit. Expert trainers were involved in the design of the exhibit to make sure that there were sufficient activities for the tigers to maintain high level of interest during the time on-exhibit.
The Dallas Zoo is committed to creating a long-term breeding program to help preserve endangered Sumatran and Indochinese cats through the AZA's Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP). Ongoing cooperation with Southeast Asian in-situ conservation projects, SSP activities and Exxon's Save the Tiger project has been maintained during the entire course of the project and will continue. Water conservation was a high priority for the water systems to provide recirculation rather than traditional dump and fill pools and water features. Maintaining existing vegetation was also a high priority during the design and construction process. Any trees that were removed were replaced with native trees, inch for inch in caliper (diameter).
After selection of Ursa International (an Atlanta design firm) as exhibit designers, local architects and engineers were selected to carry out the design and construction documents to maintain close client relations and construction supervision. Local contractors were selected to build the project, and the local Thai community was invited to bless the exhibit.
|©Dallas Zoo, 1998|