After 6 years the Zoological Park of Paris will finally re-open its doors on the twelfth of April 2014. What prompted this huge renovation? When the zoo closed in 2008 it was stuck in a time-warp. The zoo opened in 1934. The animals were held in a concrete jungle which raised many safety concerns. Zoo managers decided it was time for a change.
Zoo managers envisioned a 21st century zoo. They re-aligned their priorities and put animal welfare and conservation at the forefront of the zoo’s design. Visitors won’t be disappointed though. The zoo aims to recreate the animal’s natural habitats and get visitors as close as possible.
Concrete and iron have made way for rock walls and clever landscaping. Sophie Ferreira Le Morvan, the zoo’s director, said “Now visitors are being invited to the land of animals to immerse themselves in their natural environment.”
The animals are not classed by type instead they inhabit a series of five ‘bio-zones.’ “It’s like a journey around the planet,” said Morvan. Zoo visitors can journey from Madagascar through to Patagonia Guyana, Europe and Sahel-Sudan.
Sahel-Sudan is the zoos largest space. It transports the African savannah to Paris. Here giraffes and ostrich share one paddock. Another paddock is occupied by the zebras and rhinos. The zoos 16 giraffes were the only ones who stayed on site during the renovation. Three youngsters were born during the renovation into the group with some of the groups ancestors related to the zoos original giraffes from 1934.
Neron the lion patrols his own kingdom while awaits three lionesses who will join him later in the year. In the zoos greenhouse birds such as the red ibis interact with the visitors. The manatee cruises around in the habitat he shares with tropical fish. All the animals are able to go about life happily. Many are not the same as the ones who inhabited the previous zoo. The zoo had to source new animals to inhabit the enclosures.
Concrete still does feature but it is in the zoos landmark, the Grand Rocher. The monolith rises into the air 65metres. It covers the water towers which are inside. As part of the renovation this was patched up.
For their health elephants and bears do not feature. The 14.5 hectare zoo just does not have the space. The zoos 1000 other animals though will begin to entertain crowds from this weekend.