A £3.6 million project to create a brand new tiger enclosure for Sumatran tigers at ZSL London Zoo continues to make good progress.
The new enclosure – named Tiger Territory – is being constructed for the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) after a large public fundraising campaign took place to help facilitate the work. Once work is complete on the 2,500 sq m (27,000 sq ft) enclosure, Tiger Territory will provide millions of visitors with the chance to get close to the critically endangered Sumatran tigers.
ZSL has contributed £1 million towards construction of the new development, whilst more than £2 million has been raised through voluntary donations.
Peak Contractors is the main contractor on the new enclosure, whilst Wharmby Kozdon Architects is providing all architectural services on the site. Base Structures is responsible for the design and engineering of the enclosure.
Work began on the project in September 2012. The enclosure measures 17 metres in height and comprises a stainless steel net – supported by a series of masts – and a mix of timber and floor-to-ceiling glass. The glazing has been included to provide visitors with the opportunity to view the Sumatran tigers, whilst the thick 3mm mesh has been designed to withstand the impact from its inhabitants.
Tiger Territory will be five times the size of the zoo’s current tiger enclosure and will provide ZSL London Zoo with a central hub where it can continue its important conservation work. The enclosure will include a custom made pool and will be accompanied by flora, which has been specifically planted to mimic the tropical foliage that is found on the island of Sumatra. The structure also includes a free forming dynamic roof to allow for the tiger’s tall climbing trees.
The Sumatran tiger is the smallest of the remaining five tiger subspecies and it is estimated that only 300 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild. Poaching, human conflict and a loss of its natural habitat have all led to a decline in numbers and the species is currently classed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals.
Commenting on the importance of the project, Andy Traynor, Head of Installations at Base Structures, said:
“We are proud to be a major part of this high profile conservation project. We have been involved with a lot of zoos and it is great to be able to apply our experience to help save these rare and special tigers.”
Founded in 1826, ZSL was one of the first organisations in the world to dedicate itself to the scientific study of animals and their habitat. The society works in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Russia to reduce human-tiger conflict and runs ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
Robin Fitzgerald, Projects Manager for ZSL, commented:
“Seven hundred million people a year visit zoos worldwide and every zoo with tigers has an opportunity to ensure that the public really engage with these incredible animals and learn about the factors endangering them so that they are encouraged to help.
“This will be a major role of the new facility at ZSL London Zoo where we are creating an inspiring and educational experience that will encourage our visitors to care for tigers as much as we do.”
Tiger Territory is currently on track and is scheduled to reach completion in spring 2013. For more information about the Zoological Society of London, including the progress of Tiger Territory, please visit: www.zsl.org.