7 Apr 2013

Tiger Territory at London Zoo

So, we marched along to the Zoo to check out the new Tiger exhibit. It is pretty spectacular. And I think it shows a clear policy change.
The 2 tigers have 5 times as much space as they used to have. The old rather grim concrete area has been replaced by a very swanky huge netted area with high walkways (us) and a swimming pool (them) plus trees to climb and heated rocks to lie on. Moreover there is a series of large metal statues of tigers which the children all climbed on, lots of information boards and things like recordings of tigers roaring and tiger kittens meowing.

I know the Zoo has its critics. I’m a fan of it, however and know it so well that I’m almost on first name terms with the hissing cockroaches. And I think the problem is that a) its in central London and b) is packed with listed buildings. Furthermore c) the vogue for big animals in zoos has waned somewhat, now that David Attenborough is on our screens on an almost daily basis and the likes of the Deadly 60 are staples.

All of which means that London Zoo has had to reinvent itself somewhat. Tiger Territory has become very spacious indeed for the inhabitants, who have sort of taken back seat to what – for the human viewers- now acts as a sort of animal information hub. The gorillas have pretty much the same set up.

I think this is appropriate – if you are going to have a zoo in a city (discuss) then you should have zoo-type animals in it. But if they are complex creatures (rather than, say,ladybirds) let them be as undisturbed as possible while the visitors jump on the statues and listen to the recorded roaring. Which is exactly what happened.

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