Following a nine month programme, a dry savanna landscape was created on 22,000 square metres within Dublin Zoo.
The landscape consists of a rock escarpments, sand, grasses and isolated trees which was built on land which was formerly part of the neighbouring lands of Aras an Uachtarain. The project, a feat of civil engineering, involved the excavation and movement of thousands of cubic metres of earth, the placing of some 5000 tonnes of Donegal sandstone boulders and the laying of 6000 cubic metres of sand. The creation of an escarpment on a previously flat field has now allowed visitors to enjoy the full scale of the habitat with perimeter viewing platforms, seating and lighting.
The new development is home for a mixed group of African mammals including giraffe, zebra, ostrich, and the endangered scimitar horned oryx which is actually extinct in the wild.
The African Plains has doubled the size of the Zoo and has created a savannah for some of the zoo’s largest residents. In order to create the African Plains the Government gave the Zoo 13 hectares that had previously formed part of the Aras an Uachtaráin grounds. The site consists of a large lake, pasture land and mature woodland.
The African Plains is home to hippopotamuses, rhinos, chimpanzees, white-crowned mangabeys, lions, cheetahs, Marabou stork, Abyssinian ground hornbills, red river hogs and bongos. It also features a mixed-species exhibit with giraffes, ostriches, zebras and scimitar-horned oryxes.
The exhibits have been designed to give the animals more space and necessary enrichment. For instance the hippopotamus exhibit has a large pool with sand banks which allow the hippos to sunbathe, while in the winter they can use their individual heated indoor pool and stall. The giraffes have a large paddock with special hard standings for the winter months. The lake provides a large island for the chimpanzees, which is proving very successful in helping to build a good social group. Visitors will also see the white-crowned mangabeys on their island.
As well as catering for the animals’ needs, the African Plains development also looks after the visitor. In Nakuru Village, visitors can eat at the Nakuru Restaurant or visit the ‘Out of Africa’ shop which sells a range of African artifacts. In addition, the ‘Nakuru Safari’ takes visitors on a 20 minute journey around the African Plains, with full on-board commentary.
The African Plains is an integral part of Dublin Zoo and is included in the admission to the Zoo. So do come along to the African Plains at Dublin Zoo and embark on your own African adventure!
The works consisted of internal refurbishment of existing buildings, demolition works to some of the existing buildings and the construction of new buildings in cityfarm, Dublin Zoo.
The existing public toilets and 1st aid room were refurbished with fit-out works to kitchen and hoof stock barn.
The existing pig and pony barn, hay barn, cow barn and milking barn were demolished and new improved buildings built in their place. A new farmhouse school and staff room were built in conjunction with the other new buildings.
Works also included hard and soft landscaping incorporating fencing, paved areas and lighting.
The project consisted of the demolition of existing Rhino Enclosure and construction of new Gorilla Exhibit including new holding building and all associated external works.
In addition, a new Rhino fence was constructed in the Rhino holding area and additional stone boulders were placed in the African Savannah Exhibit. The associated external works included the construction of retaining wall, water moat, pedestrian bridge, lake viewing platform, viewing shelter and boardwalk.
The 12,000sqm habitat of undulating topography was carefully designed to replicate the ape’s natural west African habitat. High, rocky outcrops and sprawling trees afforded the apes a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape, while water features and dense vegetation permitted them to forage and rest in secluded places.
Works comprised of the modification of existing Lion, Tiger & Macaque areas, construction of a new perimeter reinforced concrete wall & creation of new raised landscaped areas. Alteration and demolition of existing holding areas, removal of existing trees and plantation. The creation of a new Otter Habitat was also carried out as part of the works.