Swiss To Create A Real Life Zootopia For Animals
A Swiss Zoo has unveiled ambitious plans to create a real-life Zootopia to tackle the challenges of climate change and create an environment that is as friendly for the animals it protects as for human visitors.
The zoo is building on the success it has already made in creating habitats and is now planning to look to the next stage where they hope to build 11 large-scale habitats by 2050, covering 27 hectares of land.
A video of the planned project indicates it’s going to be like a real-life Zootopia, the Walt Disney animated film where animals from different habitats live in four different zones in the fictional city of Zootopia.
A copy of the Zootopia city is due to be built at the Shanghai Disneyland Park, but in the meantime the Swiss have unveiled their plan for a real-life animal-friendly version which includes such attractions as a lake with an underwater passage through to a Congolese primaeval forest.
Zoo director Severin Dressen who is pioneering the changes, said: “We are confronting significant societal challenges: loss of biodiversity, environmental degradation, and global change.”
He said that to restore ecological equilibrium a fundamental shift was needed in many areas adding: “We get our vision from this purpose for society as a whole: A world for animals and people. For the next thirty years, this vision will drive our efforts as the Zurich Zoo.”
Other habitats planned include a Masoala Rainforest and Lewa Savannah, setting new standards in animal husbandry and zoo visitor experience.
In its modern facilities, the zoo emphasizes three-dimensionality not just in total land covered but also in height and depth.
They said that large aviaries would open up the height, while large bodies of water open up the depth, increasing the viewpoints from which visitors can enjoy the wildlife the zoo protects, and also expanding the possibilities for the animals.
Birds will be able to soar in flocks in the future, and monkeys will be able to ascend to the tallest trees.
The first of the new projects to be permitted will be the Pantanal Aviary (opening 2025) and Congo (opening 2029).
The zoo director added: “You will be at eye level with flying big parrots in the Pantanal aviary. In the Congo, gorillas and okapis may be seen grazing in a vast rainforest clearing in the swamp’s shallow water.”
As well as the living areas they also plan to open up other areas of their activities.
The director said: “As a zoo, one of our four primary duties is research, although it is frequently hidden from visitors. We are making portions of this area of activity available to our guests with the new research station.”
The two key initiatives, the Sumatra rainforest and the coastline, will determine zoo development after 2030.
Severin Dressen added: “In the Sumatra rainforest, you’ll see swimming saddleback tapirs and then climb to frightening heights to see orangutans in the trees of the forty-meter-high jungle giants. And you’ll see penguins and sea lions on the beach, hear the distinct sound of the waves, and say to yourself ‘Now we have a sea on the Zurichberg’.”