Zittauer Str. 43
, 02826 Görlitz
Fax: +49 3581 407401
Feeding, exhibit barrier
|Hystricidae||Hystrix indica||Indian crested porcupine||10|
The porcupine exhibit is part of the Tibetan-themed area at Tierpark Görlitz. An existing pit-like enclosure surrounded by stone walls was extended to a large outdoor exhibit. This offers more variety to the porcupines and a more interesting experience to the visitors. The indoor enclosure was not changed. Part of the former outdoor enclosure is used as a separation enclosure.
The outdoor enclosure mostly consists of an area at ground level covered by mineral aggregate soil. The exhibit boundary is made of a one-meter high grey grate fence that extends into the ground for digging protection and is partially covered by piles of dead wood.
The northern part of the exhibit is dominated by a raised grassy mound. This hill is bordered on two sides by natural stone retaining walls running parallel to the outer fence. The approximately one-meter-wide corridor between these walls and the fence had to be fenced off the porcupines because they preferentially dug in this area, putting the stability of the wall at risk. At the foot of the mound there are two open rock shelters facing the visitors’ side that are made from large natural stone slabs. The hill slopes more gently on the south side. The slope is covered by stones, tree stems and large branches and protected against climbing or digging by a single electric wire at the upper and at the lower edge. The animal access to the hill is located next to the entrance exhibit and can always be blocked by a large stone or a tree stem. First, the porcupines were given only temporary access to the hill for grazing, so they would not damage the turf by digging. But, since it turned out that the porcupines barely dig on a flat surface, they can now permanently use this area.
The special feature of the exhibit is a feeding table made of large natural stone slabs that is open towards the visitor area. The table is about 80cm higher than the visitor path and has an overhanging edge at the front. This type of boundary is sufficient to keep the porcupines in their enclosure because they are not able to see the ground in front of the table and therefore do not jump down. On the side of their enclosure, they can use stones arranged like stairs to get on the table. To avoid too close contact between the porcupines and the visitors and to protect the animals from falling down in case of bickering, a single electric wire about 50cm away from the edge was added. This prevents the animals from approaching the edge of the table. Only young porcupines can walk underneath the wire.
Visitors can feed the porcupines with provided food at the feeding table .
The outdoor enclosure is aprox. 220m². It includes a 21m² entrance enclosure, a 39m² pasture hill, and a 23m² feeding table.
Space allocation in square meters:
|use||indoors||outdoors|| total exhibit |
|accessible|| total ||accessible|| total |
Planning and construction were entirely carried out by zoo staff, so the costs only include materials for the renovation and extension of the outdoor exhibit.
13 May 2012
- Planning: Naturschutz-Tierpark Görlitz
Beginning: October 2011
- Construction: Naturschutz-Tierpark Görlitz
| ||This is a climatic diagram for the closest weather station.|
215 m altitude
8.2 °C mean annual temperature
657 mm mean annual precipitation
Apart from the grassy hill, no planting was required in the exhibit. Two existing tress were integrated into the exhibit for shade and protected from the porcupines by stone slabs and logs.
FEATURES DEDICATED TO ANIMALS:
In the outdoor exhibit, two open rock shelters with straw bedding and a hollowed tree stem are available to the animals for resting. The animals can dig the soil in the separation enclosure.
Drinking water is permanently available in a bowl that the porcupines also use for bathing. During particularly hot days, the keepers also create a mud wallow in the enclosure. Many logs and branches are provided to the animals for gnawing. On the feeding table, there are also mountings equipped with fresh branches.
In the morning, the porcupines get feeding pellets for mineral supply. The remaining feeding is conducted by the visitors. This way, the animals cannot foresee when they will get food so they stay active throughout the whole day despite their naturally nocturnal lifestyle. The vegetables are offered in small pieces to avoid competition between the individuals.
The indoor area has heated flooring. In winter, the porcupines get a thick straw bedding, and a glass panel is placed in front of the bars to the visitor path.
FEATURES DEDICATED TO KEEPERS:
The keepers get into the exhibit through a metal door between the entrance enclosure and the feeding table. Access to the indoor enclosure and the entrance exhibit is through the entrance room of the goitered gazelle stable.
The corridor between the fence and the pasture hill can be used as a race if necessary.
FEATURES DEDICATED TO VISITORS:
The visitors can observe the porcupines in the outdoor exhibit across the fence. A glass panel in a wooden frame offers a view of a resting place in a hollowed tree stem. A rectangular extension of the path into the exhibit enables the visitor to “enter” the exhibit while being protected by a grate fence. From this point, the visitors can directly look into the sleeping dens of the animals. A wood bench allows visitors to sit and observe the animals.
At the feeding table, the visitors can look at the porcupines without any barrier and feed them. Suitable food is provided in a wooden box with hinged lid that is filled 2 to 3 times per day. At the side of the table, there is an observation shelter allowing a view across jagged stone slabs without a separating electric wire.
The separation enclosure can be seen through a window in the boundary wall. The indoor exhibit is separated from the visitor path by a metal grid. In winter, the visitors look through a glass panel.
The signage presents general biological characteristics of the Indian crested porcupine. An educational board provides information about the animals’ relationship within the rodent family. The different types of quills are displayed in a showcase and their functions are explained.
The indoor enclosure, the separation enclosure as well as the main enclosure are separated by slides so the animals can be locked in for work.
Changes in the behavior of the porcupines following the implementation of the species-appropriate visitor feeding are investigated within the framework of a research project of several zoos.
The stone slabs were donated by a local firm.
|©Tierpark Görlitz, 2012|
|©Jonas Homburg, 2016|
|©Jonas Homburg, 2016|