2300 Southern Blvd.
, Bronx, New York 10460
Fax: 001 718 220 7133
Africa, mixed species
|Anatidae||Anas capensis||Cape teal||6.4|
|Anatidae||Cyanochen cyanopterus||Absynnian blue-winged goose||1.1|
|Caprinae||Capra ibex||Nubian ibex||0.6|
|Cercopithecidae||Theropithecus gelada||gelada baboon||3.15|
|Procaviidae||Procavia capensis||rock hyrax||1.4.1|
1991 AZA Exhibit Award
Baboon Reserve provides a two-acre (0.8-hectare) habitat for Nubian ibex, rock hyrax, waterfowl, and two harems of gelada baboons. The exhibit is designed to simulate the Afro-alpine life zone of the Ethiopian highlands. Massive earth-moving and limited, but highly-detailed, artificial rock and earthbanks create an eroded watercourse at the base of a precipitous, rocky slope. On this rocky slope is a kopje complete with fissures and cavities, some leading to heated night quarters for the rock hyrax. The meandering watercourse below offers an appropriate setting for water fowl. Baboons and ibex share the steep slope, which rises 20 feet (7 meters) above an earth-covered viewing blind, offering a panoramic view of the two species. Visitors also get a view of the animals from the African Market Plaza, where they can purchase refreshments and gifts. The market's buildings, all fashioned in the monumental mud and thatch Somba style of West Africa, include the Africa Lab teaching classroom and Africa Information Post.
At the time of building, this exhibit was the largest primate exhibit in the United States. All four species share the 2-acre (0.8-hectare) space. While the exhibit is large, it was designed to encourage the animals to spend time in close view of the visitors. Adjacent to the animal exhibit is an 890-square-meter visitor space - the African Village - which includes a classroom, gift shop, concession stands, and eating terrace with a view of the animal exhibit.
Space allocation in square meters:
|use||indoors||outdoors|| total exhibit |
|accessible|| total ||accessible|| total |
USD (1990) 3,700,000
- Cultural Consultant: Dr. Thomas M. Shaw
- Exhibit Design: Exhibit and Graphic Arts Department, Bronx Zoo, Bronx, New York
- Project Coordination: Exhibit and Graphic Arts Department, Bronx Zoo, Bronx, New York
- Graphic Design: Exhibit and Graphic Arts Department, Bronx Zoo, Bronx, New York
- Horticulture: Horticulture and Exhibit/Graphic Arts Departments, Bronx Zoo, Bronx, New York
- Exhibitry Fabrication: Exhibit and Graphic Arts Department, Bronx Zoo, Bronx, New York
- Animal Holding Facility Design: Coe Lee Robinson Roesch, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- African Market and Viewing Pavilions Architecture: Esser and Jacquemin Associates, New York
- Construction Supervision: Department of Construction, Bronx Zoo, New York
- Rock Work and Mudbanks: Cemrock Landscapes, Tucson, Arizona
- Rock Work: David Manwarren Corp., Claremont, California
- Pavilion Roofs: Safari Thatch and Bamboo, Inc., Plantation, Florida
- Primate Paleontology Exhibit: Dr. Eric Delson, American Museum of Natural History, New York City, New York
- Illustration: Deborah Ross
- Pavilion Roofs - Later Replacement: EndurReed, Lake City, Florida
To heighten the sense of environmental immersion and to encourage an understanding of the distinctive ecology of Ethiopia, careful research was undertaken regarding the availability of African plants hardy to this region. The exhibit features the orange spires of Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia), a wild African red "gladiolus" (Crocusmia), a giant Afro-arabian thistle (Onopordon), and other African species. To these were added many analogs of non-hardy Ethiopian plants, including grey and silver Cerastium, Artemesia, Yucca, and Ilex crenata. Much of the exhibit was seeded with a love grass species of the same genus as "Teff", a local Ethiopian food crop. A long-term study of gelada and ibex foraging patterns within the exhibit was performed, in order to optimize management schemes for these herbivores and the "pasture".
The plant list specifies the Latin names of the plants used for this exhibit.
FEATURES DEDICATED TO ANIMALS:
The holding building for geladas is skylit and contains three main night rooms, two outdoor holding pens, and two smaller isolation/acclimation rooms. The multiple night rooms allow the two harems to seperate from one another at night, after spending the day associating with each other on exhibit. This simulates a common social make-up in nature of a "two-harem band". This social activity, along with the ecological richness of the exhibit space, the sharing of the space with other species, and timed feeders, provides enrichment for the primates. Heated rocks and shady overhangs offer different micro-climates for the animals to enjoy.
FEATURES DEDICATED TO KEEPERS:
The animal holding facility is spacious and is designed for easy maintenance - only one keeper is required to handle all daily cleaning, feeding, and shifting. The animal holding areas are flexible in design, to allow for veterinary care and acclimation of new animals. There are food preparation and storage areas, keeper facilities, heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment (with seperate outside access to minimize traffic through the animal building), and direct access into the exhibit. Standard keeper safety elements were incorporated into the exhibit and special considerations include: steps on severe slopes to prevent falls (these are hidden from public view), doors at opposite ends of the exhibit for easy access, two-way keeper radios, and preparation of special safety procedures and training for keepers.
FEATURES DEDICATED TO VISITORS:
While much earth had to be moved to create the great slope on which the animals are displayed, it allows the best possible viewing for the visitor, who has a clear, panoramic view of the hillside. Heated artificial rocks (which blend seamlessly with real rocks), shade, and timed feeders encourage the animals to spend time near the glass viewing windows, so visitors get a close-up view of the animals. Additionally, telescopes inside the viewing pavilion encourage involvement by visitors. There is also a view to the animals over a moat. Details were developed to add realism to the re-created Ethiopian environment and to heighten the interest and appreciation of viewers: fine artificial roots emerging from the artificial mudbanks, railings made of gnarled black locust wood that resembles acacia wood, colored and textured concrete paths that look like dried mud, African Crocosmia flowers blooming along the trail, graphics that are painted in colors typical of Ethiopia's plant pallette, and earth berms that obscure barriers. The trail leads to the African Market, where visitors can obtain gifts and refreshments. They can also relax at tables from which they get a view of the animals on exhibit.
Along the exhibit trail, visitors stumble upon artifacts that were fabricated for the exhibit: nests of ostriches and secretary birds, termite mounds, hyena scats, leopard skulls, and more. This makes the exhibit interesting and helps to teach ecology, assisted by flip-up graphics placed nearby that explain their significance to the ecosystem. A highlight of the visitor experience is a small side trail that leads to a replication of a fossil dig where prehistoric gelada and human skeletons have been found. The durable, cast-epoxy skulls and bones invite tactile involvement, while 3x5-inch (7.5 x 12.5 cm) "field notebook" cards teach that humans are primates, as are baboons, and that evidence of our ancestors have been found in Ethiopia. In the viewing pavilion, flip-up graphics explain baboon behavior. There is also a cast ibex horn here and visitors are challenged to calculate how old the ibex is by the number of rings on its horn. An African Information Post provides up-to-date accounts of conservation issues in Africa. A real elephant skeleton lies near the path with signage illustrating the decline of the elephant population in Africa. In addition, the "Africa Lab" classroom, inside one of the mud huts that makes up the African Village, is used to teach classes as well as host conferences, presentations, and fundraisers. The 1400-square-foot (150-square-meter) space takes on an African motif, but is provided with audivisual support, lavatories, and a kitchenette. The space was designed in conjunction with the zoo's education department, which has developed many curriculae for it. The highlight of the classroom is a sweeping vista into the animal exhibit through a large glass window.
To assist the management of the US Nubian ibex population, the zoo maintains an all-male herd. Each night, the herd goes into an off-exhibit holding pen and each day it bands together cohesively while foraging in the exhibit (as in nature). Exhibit graphics explain that all-male herds are typical in the wild during most times of year. The baboons were trained to split into their respective harems at night and return to seperate night quarters. By maintaining this natural social structure, reproduction is enhanced, allowing the zoo to add to the current world zoo population of this species, which is very small. It also results in more social behavior when the animals are on exhibit, which enhances the visitor experience.
A doctoral student used the exhibit to investigate physiological and social components of gelada reproductive behavior, as well as to study non-reproductive social behavior. Inter- and intra-group dynamics were systematically observed, resulting in a wealth of information regarding social hierarchies, territoriality, and spatial use. Plant species growing in the exhibit were catalogued and assessed for forage preference. A visitor stay-time study was conducted and found that the close-up nature of the animals, particularly of the active rock hyrax, increases visitor stay time at the exhibit.
In this exhibit, WCS scientists have learned that changes in the appearance of a pregnant baboon's red chest are directly related to hormone levels. This information can help in monitoring females both in captivity and in the wild to improve breeding success.
Near the display of the skeleton of a poached elephant, graphics tell people how they can help in conservation.
|Gelada Baboon (1)|
|©Wildlife Conservation Society, 2004|
|Visitor Space (5)|
|Plantings Soften Artificial Mudbanks (8)|