Saturday, August 31, 2013

Komodo Alley - The Dragon's Home

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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  1. glad to hear the zoo has a new personality, but sorry to hear about the state of his enclosure - it does sound too small and confined, and does not have enough light. i hope they have the funds to build a beautiful new enclosure for him.

    poor rigel.

    1. @hazel- Thank you for your comment. ... Gosh I hate to sound like such a hater, its not that they did an awful job, I just wish it was double the width and not sure why its not. yea and the light thing. oh well, hope his bigger home is constructed in the next year and he has natural lighting and landscaping :) ... I know you heart Rigel too.

  2. Thanks for the pictures, once again.
    About the size of the enclosure, it makes sense that it would be small because they used the entrance of the lorikeet landing building (which was left empty after the exhibit ceased). The zoo probably used the same original walkway-which explains the "alley" and shallow enclosure depth.
    Also, for the glare on the glass, to take better pictures without glare, you can try placing the camera lense up to the glass. That usually helps stop the glare.

    1. @ellicruu- Thank you for your comment! ... Your welcome on the pix! Yes, they did repurpose the Lorikeet entrance area, but while still using that structure frame, they didn't have to be limited to it. I watched as they built the "tank" and that whole area could have just as easy been the "tank", adding a walk-way beyond that. ... Thanks for the suggestion about photos. I did get up close to the glass. It helps a bit but not much. Mostly I just shadowed the glare with my body and a Staffer helped by standing to block so I could get some good pix :)

    2. I realized other reasons why there would be such glare and reflection on the glass. It may be because the glass is slanted the wrong way. I haven't seen the exhibit in person yet, but by observing the photos, the glass looks like the top is slanted towards the viewing space. It should be the OPPOSITE to prevent glare! An example of proper installation would be the Grizzly Gulch pond viewing. Another reason for unsightly reflections would be that the enclosure is darker than the viewing area. Once again it should be the OPPOSITE! (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on these points). That's all I have to say for now, keep the great photos coming!

    3. @ellicruu - Well, you certainly have more insight about the windows than I have, so I can't correct you :) My observations are totally based on the perspective of the Visitor and anything more comes from what would seem logical. I would surely hope (although I'm not confident) that the people building things at the Zoo have some knowledge of at the very least which end is up on window installation! The windows put up in the viewing area at Gorillas are "glary" as well. Not as much as in here, but maybe that has to do with the light/dark issue you mentioned. That said, those Tamarin windows are the worst! And those were put in long ago, so who knows. I wonder if Zoo's that appear to have the smarts like San Diego and National Zoo have these kinds of simple issues?


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