On the 50th Earth Day, the Shanghai Zoo opened a “Local Animal Park”. The animal inhabitants of the park include endangered and protected species such as otters, Chinese water deers, leopard cats, South China tigers, and Oriental storks. At the same time, local representative species such as hog badger, European badger, raccoon dogs, and mallards also live in the park.
An Area of More Than 320,000 Square Feet Produces a “Home” Environment
The Shanghai Zoo Local Animal Park began construction in August 2017. After the completion, the total area of the park is more than 320,000 square feet.
In the past, tourists always paid more attention to star animals such as pandas, lions, golden monkeys and so on. However, they don’t know much about the animals that live around the city. Shanghai is a city built on wetlands with abundant natural resources that support nearly 90% of the wildlife species in the Yangtze River Delta Area. “We define ‘local animals’ as wildlife that live in or near Shanghai, or animals that have historically been distributed but are now disappearing,” said a zoo official.
The Local Animal Park of Shanghai Zoo is the first exhibition in China with the title of “local animals”. It features the natural environment of Shanghai wetland and hilly forests. The park strives to simulate nature so that the animals can express natural behaviors.
The entire bird area is composed of wetland landscapes such as lakes, shoals, streams, and small islands. Such an environment not only helps show the natural behavior of birds but also attracts many local wild birds to enrich the ecosystem. In the area for the Chinese water deer and Reeves’s muntjac, the slopes, lawns, and bushes are large enough to meet the deers’ needs to hide and run. The small animal exhibition areas for raccoon dogs, European badgers, and hog badgers present their preferred living environment with shrubs and ponds, supplemented by various tree holes and caves.
“Artificial” Food Chain Enhances Animal Welfare
There are many aquatic plants, small fish, snails, and tadpoles in the wetland environment of the bird area. The zoo also built an “insect hotel” on the island with eco-friendly materials. The staff placed straw, dry branches, dead bark, and other materials in discarded wooden boxes to attract different insects. These insects and some aquatic plants also become food for the cranes. Meanwhile, the zookeeper will also occasionally put some mealworms and crickets on the island to let the cranes catch by themselves.
Attentive visitors will find tree branches of various shapes and sizes in the exhibition area. “They restore the living environment of animals in the wild and provide the animals with entertainment.” the staff revealed.
As people’s attention to the environment and the protection of ecosystems increases, a growing number of people recognize the importance of protecting the habitats of humans and animals. The Shanghai Zoo said that the zoo has been striving to change from a traditional zoo to a modern zoo for a long time. The missions of the zoo are to conduct wildlife science research, comprehensive environmental protection, popular science education, and advocation of ecological protection. The establishment of Local Animal Park is a major practice.
All information comes from http://sh.eastday.com/
Translated by Andrea Jia
Edited by Andrea Jia and Riley Peng @ Animal Dialogue