Yesterday was the first time I was able to see the inside of the new Komodo Dragon exhibit. My previous opinion from looking outside in, still stands and I think its too small. I talked to some Staffers who did say this was only temporary and that a bigger enclosure would eventually be built. Of course this would have to be a given as Falcor is only a few feet long right now and will eventually grow to be at minimum seven/eight feet.
The outside of the exhibit. In my opinion there is much wasted space and the inside portion of the enclosure could have been extended outward, double-wide. The tree in photo left was there but all the plants and container wall were not.
Calling it an Alley was accurate in that inside, it is long and narrow. The glass in photo left is the enclosure, right to the outside exhibit. Having this inside walk-way is a waste of space. I would have preferred to see the enclosure living space extend double-wide to that outside window. Looking into the living space, it is approximately the width of the walk-way, which appeared to also be the length of the Animal, if he was to lay head to tail. front to back. That said, knowing that eventually there would need to be another larger area built, this one should have been built to last at least a couple years, which at even the size he is now it seems cramped. Its long, but narrow.
I'm not a building professional, but as I noted eliminating the walk-way in favor of having the living space twice the size seems doable. Either by having it be as it is with an indoor walk-way or having the living space window face out with no indoor walk-way. Either way, there was plenty of space to make this larger. I know it needs to be climate controlled, so maybe there is an issue with the living space facing out and because of that there does need to be that indoor temperature buffer space? That said, there was enough room to make it wider, adding in the size of the walk-way area, extending the walk-way out, or if possible eliminating it altogether, having a short awning of sorts if necessary. I heard they allegedly "wanted to get this done in a hurry" so maybe that factored into it. I just wish he had more room. He was very active, pawing at the window and roaming around the whole area, from front to back especially. I would also have like to see it designed to let in outdoor light. Having the window without the walk-way would have provided that.
Aside from my opinions on the size of the living space, I have to really complain about the glass. I don't understand why the Zoo continues to use glass that glares. It 2013, anti-reflective glass is available. It is almost impossible to view him without glare. The photo above is taken (a bit to the side) looking directly at the glass of the enclosure. Its awful. I know there is anti-reflective film out there, another Keeper once told me about it as she asked for it so that the Snow Leopard Rigel would stop looking at his reflection, which upset him the whole time on exhibit. That request was denied/delayed, whatever not sure if it ever happened because he still is obsessed with staring out. Poor Rigel. I digress. They need to get some and put it across the lower part of the glass of this enclosure, so we can see Falcor better. While they are at it, they need to get some for Rigel too, so at nineteen years old, he can have some peace while out on exhibit and not think another Male Snow Leopard is stalking him.
Additionally, there needs to be no knocking on glass signs.
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