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Zoosite.nl in Copenhagen Zoo
Indsendt af: Sven Willemsens
At the end of september Davinia and Sven from the Dutch sistersite of NordicZoos, Zoosite.nl, visited Denmark and, of course, we rushed to the zoo. Here is Svens report from Copenhagen Zoo.
All photos: Zoosite.nl
Today was the big day - our first visit to Copenhagen zoo. We got started with our daily gymnastics by climbing the big tower right at the entrance. Although I'm not as athletic as I would like, the view was absolutely worth losing our breath for: a splendid bird's perspective of the zoo and Copenhagen.
But of course we came to see animals and they're kind of difficult to spot from way up there. So back down again and past the gibbon and pelicans towards the polar bears and brown bears - a rather old, typical Hagenbeck Tierpark enclosure with concrete rocks. Not to big and far from ideal, but thanks to some changes it could still be of use for these animals.
Next stop: the all new and improved elephant house. Fun fact here is that it is built right next to the old elephant house. This provides a beautiful step back in history and gives a great opportunity to compare classic and modern zoo keeping.
The elephant house itself has all the necessary features to comfortably house a herd of females with youngsters as well as a bull. The visitors' area is large and has lots of education and games. The only drawback to the entire concept is the visibility: there are only a few spots where you can get a good look at the elephants - but nonetheless a very nice exhibit.
After all the exercise climbing towers and playing educational games, it's time to have something to eat. We do that with a nice view of the tigers. They inhabit a spacious but very old enclosure, not too bad, but not really easy on the eyes. The same goes for the leopards on the other side of the building.
But then… then we see the sign "Regnskoven" and Sven basically loses it. Rainforest means fish, birdies and of course reptiles!!!! What we get isn't an actual rainforest, but it certainly passes the test - a large hall with lots of tropical vegetation, ponds and of course free flying birds, turtles, etc. followed by a hallway with terrariums. To name just a few species showed: poison dart frog, Giant Madagascar Daygecko, African House Snake and various invertebrate species. At the end of the hallway there's a butterfly walkthrough and the chimpanzee house. This is also a typical "old school" exhibit and although they have plenty of space it's rather unfortunate that they don't have an outdoor exhibit as well.
We have now seen a large part of the old zoo and start walking towards the tunnel to Søndermarken. Before we get there we pay a quick visit to South America with a mixed exhibit of Guanaco, Mara and Capybara and the walk through aviary with Scarlet Ibis, Spoonbill and other species. And then it is time to go underground and look at all the free advertising other zoos get here (I checked but it seems Belgian zoos are boycotted).
Anyway, we emerge on the other side of the street to enjoy part 1 of the savannah display: the rhino exhibit. And it has everything your average rhino could ask for: space, a nice mud bath, shade, sand… one thing we didn't see though was the rhino itself. So let's move on to the next exhibit, shall we?
Well, this appears to be a petting zoo, not that we don't like goats and rabbits but we decide to move on. And with good reason, because next to the petting zoo we have one of the zoo's main features: the only Tasmanian devils outside of Australia/Tasmania. We all know the "looney tunes" character, but let me assure you: the real thing is just as hyper and looks even uglier. So ugly in fact that you just have to like them. As we leave them behind us and pass the far more common wallabies, the rest of the African savannah comes into sight. First we make a stopover at the hippo house. This looks really nice, but it's quite crowded. Also, the outside could have been a bit more integrated in the savannah. Modern architecture is one thing but when you look out over a nice savannah and see this at the end, it's a bit of a bummer.
The savannah is a very nice combination of enclosures. Optically they look as one, but they're divided with rocks and treestumps. The antelope, zebras and wilder beast, however, fit through these natural borders and can visit their neighbouring giraffes, hippos and rhinos. All in all a very nice set up. If there is one thing I could complain about, it's a lack of smaller species like porcupines, meerkats, warthogs, because all they have now is one enclosure with mongoose. Another missed opportunity are the lions. They have a nice enclosure in the old part of the zoo, but it's such a typical African species that you wonder why they didn't give them a new space there.
All that's left to do on this side of the zoo is see some smaller aviaries with hornbills and small birds and the caracal enclosure. No, wait, there's another thing to do: buy some ice cream! And try to eat it, which is more challenging than it sounds.
We've almost done the entire zoo now, just a quick run past the lions and the monkey house and off to the exit it is! Some comment on the last 2 enclosures? Well, the lions are kept much the same as the tigers: a fairly old concrete pen, not very pleasant to look at, but it's quite big and the concrete doesn't seem to bother the lions.
The outside enclosures of the monkey house seem to be ok, also not too beautiful, but large enough. Personally I find the inside enclosures of the bigger species like baboon and lemur to small. The pens for marmosets and toupaja were big enough for these small animals and also well planted which gave a rather big contrast with the bare concrete pens on the opposite side.
But overall, Copenhagen is a nice zoo, with a lot of very nice exhibits and several rare and interesting animals. Of course there's always room for improvement, but the zoo is definitely working on that, so future visits should also be worhtwile. I'm sure we'll come round again sometime.