Ettlinger Straße 6
, 76137 Karlsruhe
Fax: +49 721 133-6809
Conservation breeding, Mountain exhibit
|Felidae||Panthera uncia||Snow leopard||1,1 + offspring|
The exhibit for snow leopards is part of the “Himalayan Mountains” exhibit at Karlsruhe Zoo. It is located next to the red pandas. During the summer, this location stays relatively cool because it is exposed to wind and shadowed by deciduous trees and therefore particularly suitable for housing alpine animal species.
Existing indoor enclosures were re-used for the snow leopards. The vertical sliding doors that led to the outdoor enclosures were removed and replaced by horizontal ones directly under the ceiling of the cages. The formerly pit-style outdoor enclosures were filled so that the ground level of the new enclosures is at or above the visitor path partly located on the roof of the indoor enclosures.
The exhibit is designed as a rocky slope with a stream, logs, existing trees and some additional conifers. At the back, the exhibit is fenced with a 4m high wire mesh with a 50cm overhang that is additionally secured by several electric wires. The glass panels on the visitors’ side of the enclosure are integrated into artificial rocks of the same height.
The main enclosure covers 1080m². The separation exhibits are 180m² and 141m². There are 5 boxes indoors, each 5 by 6 meters.
Space allocation in square meters:
|use||indoors||outdoors|| total exhibit |
|accessible|| total ||accessible|| total |
- Architecture: Planungsgruppe Zoo Gebäude und Technik GmbH, Karlsruhe
- Statics: igp Ingenieure, Karlsruhe
Beginning: June 2009
- Landscaping: Grün-System-Bau, Rheimünster
- Structural engineering: Pfirmann Industriebau, Pforzheim
- Rockwork building: Studio Grafico Naturalistico Thürnau, Berlin
- Glass and steel construction: Theuring KG, Crimmitschau
- Steel construction: Schlosserei Mantei, Forbach-Breitwies
Existing trees on the site including Sycamore, Norway maple and field maple, were maintained and protected with plastic cuffs and electric wires against climbing of the snow leopards. In order to match the animals’ natural habitat, Swiss pine, Heldreich's pine and Himalayan cedar were planted in the exhibit. Bamboo, blood berberis, Rhododendron and wild purple lythrum grow in the visitor area.
The plant list specifies the Latin names of the plants used for this exhibit.
FEATURES DEDICATED TO ANIMALS:
The three outdoor exhibits form a circular run via several slides so the animals can get out of each other’s way in case of incompatibility. One artificial rock in the exhibit is heated and the animals like to use it particularly during winter. A roofed rock shelter close to the visitor area offers the snow leopards a protected resting place. This area also has floor heating and is preferred by the female to lay down her young. A swinging wood structure was built for the young to play. The creek offers drinking water for the animals any time.
Because of its underground location, the indoor enclosures are relatively cool even at midsummer. Planks on the back of elevated resting areas prevent kidney problems. Logs make the elevated slide gates accessible to the animals. The ground is covered with wood chips. Water bowls are put in a gap below the metal bars in each box. A wooden birth den is located in the first box.
FEATURES DEDICATED TO KEEPERS:
The keeper corridor along the indoor enclosures is secured by two metal doors. The bar gap of the former bear cages was reduced by adding another layer of metal mesh so the snow leopard cannot reach through with a paw or snout. The cage doors have a snapping three-point lock. All slides are manually operated. The windows to the outdoor area are secured by stainless steel bars. The birth den can be opened by two flaps in the lid in order to survey the young. The keeper area is located in the middle of all three outdoor exhibits so that all slides can be operated with visual contact. This means that the keeper corridor is located between two indoor cages. In order to connect these cages, a three-piece foldable cage can be unfolded from the wall to form a tunnel passage. When this tunnel is not in use, one of the adjacent sliding doors pointing outwards into the keeper area can be moved to allow the removal or delivery of animals. As long as this sliding door is not in use, it is bolted to prevent unintended opening. The building has ground-level access that is also convenient for forklifts. The outdoor enclosure can be accessed through a removable 2x2 meter fence panel for bringing in larger elements.
FEATURES DEDICATED TO VISITORS:
The visitor path leads from the red pandas to the snow leopards. At the entrance to the themed area, visitors pass a large banner introducing the “Himalayan Mountains”. First, visitors stand in front of a large glass window on the narrow side of the exhibit and can look down its long side. A picnic table invites the visitors to linger here. The walkway continues on the long site of the enclosure. Here, the visitors can observe the animals when looking uphill through glass panels and a mesh fence. One glass panel is adjacent to the rock shelter so one can get very close to animals in this location. Next comes a stone shelter that has views into the exhibit through small windows. The shelters mimics those built by Himalayan yak and goat shepherds for staying overnight. The direct way from the main path to the exhibit leads steeply up through a dense bamboo planting. Footprints of a snow leopard can be seen in the concrete.
The signage provides general information on the biological characteristics of the snow leopard. Large information panels are hung in wooden frames or fixed to the shelter. These inform visitors about the species' characteristics, distribution and habitat as well as its lifestyle. The need for the protection for these endangered animals is also pointed out.
The three outdoor enclosures and five indoor cages allow to separate incompatible animals and to keep offspring for a while until they can be sent to another zoo. The outdoor exhibits can be flexibly connected and separated by the sliding doors arranged in a circular run. The animals can be locked inside when work is necessary in the outdoor enclosure.
Karlsruhe Zoo takes part in the European conservation breeding program for snow leopards.
The zoo also supports conservation projects in the Himalaya through its friends' organization "Zoofreunde Karlsruhe" and the Association of German Zoological Gardens.
The protection of the snow leopard in Kirgizstan is supported by a partnership with the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union Germany.
|©Architekturbüro Heuss & Partner, adapted by Jonas Homburg, 2016|
|Snow leopard (1)|
|©Jonas Homburg, 2016|