During the middle ages in Europe the first animal displays consisted of
animals in small cages that traveled in caravans and were known as
As zoos progressed, animals remained in small cages, where they
were easily controlled. This method of housing animals is still used in
many zoos today.
However in the last 20-30 years a new way of showing
animals has developed. They are now surrounded by a habitat that closely
mimics their natural surroundings. Creating these environments is very
challenging, but results in conserving wildlife and allows the public to
observe animals behaving naturally. This requires lots of planning,
development, research and building. Every feature of the habitat has
to be matched including, rainfall, humidity, soil conditions, and
temperature. The difficulty of creating a habitat like a tropical rain
forest or polar or desert environment is a huge undertaking. For
example, when designing a polar habitat the designers must account for
each animal’s individual needs. These can be vast. When trying to
incorporate a new home for seals, walrus, bears, and penguins all parts
of their natural setting need to be considered.
These surroundings encourage breeding, socialization, and exercise.
A habitat is an animal’s natural home.
Examples of a habitat include a lake, a stream, or even a drop of
water. Temperature and
rainfall are important in grouping habitats.
Some zoos, like the Bronx Zoo, bring in a team of contractors and
use the zoo’s staff of professional designers.
They have to study the native environments of the animals they
are planning to house. They
will copy his natural habitat. They
will put some trees, plants and artificial rocks and trees with natural
ones. To contain the
animals, they use barely noticeable glass and wire instead of bars and
cages. For some animals
they need to make mangrove swamps, tropical forests and desert-like
scrublands. They create a
naturalistic exhibit that requires planning, creativity, and
teamwork. Now the exhibit will be safe and a secure place for the animals. Some of
these animals are giraffes, wolves, elk and monkeys.
A large exhibit must be created so that these animals can live
with members of their families or groups as they would in nature.
Caves – cougar, mountain lion, coyotes, wolves and bears
Underground – woodchuck, fox, skunk, prairie dog, ants, beavers
Nests – birds, squirrels, crows, hawks, owls and bees
Underwater – beavers, snakes, crocodiles, fish and polar bears
Flamingos – They live in flocks of thousands in the water.
Monkey – They live in trees.
Gorillas – They live in a jungle habitat.
Hippopotamus – They live in the water.
Koalas – They live in a eucalyptus tree.
Pandas – They live in forests.
- A turtle's home is its shell!
Heatlamps are used to warm outdoor cages in
More than a duck pond, this area for our
feathered friends simulates a natural habitat.