All over the world, zoological gardens are the crowd pullers among today’s major leisure and educational facilities, attracting young and old alike. Observing living creatures seems to be a basic human need, and the history of today’s zoos, dating back to ancient times, is proof of this. The popularity of individual zoological gardens is determined not only by their size and the variety of species represented but also by the architecture and design of the animal enclosures.
Since Carl Hagenbeck first introduced naturalistic open viewing enclosures in the early 20th century in Hamburg, the ideal goal has been to present animals in an environment as similar as possible to their natural habitat without the need for intrusive fencing. Although traditional caging behind bars hasn’t disappeared entirely yet, especially for potentially dangerous animal species, the current trend is clearly towards replacing steel cage structures – that involuntarily emphasize the animals’ captivity – with other types of enclosures.
A material such as Webnet is the ideal creative and functional alternative to fencing and bars. All over the world, increasing numbers of zoological gardens are using it as the resource of choice for new animal enclosures. Word of the positive experience gained with this material is gradually spreading among the experts. Webnet is safety-certified, weather-resistant and highly durable and requires little or no maintenance. Even the initial investment can be considered comparatively cost-effective.
The main benefit Webnet provides for zoo enclosures, however, is the filigreed structure that minimizes the viewing obstruction caused by the unavoidable safety barrier. This effect is particularly impressive at Temaiken Zoo in Buenos Aires, where Webnet has been used to build huge, walk through aviaries. Strung between steel arches that are up to 12 meters high, the mesh is barely visible when looking up to the sky. The benefits of transparency, however, are not limited to visitors to the zoo, now able to enjoy even better views of their darlings.
The animals themselves seem to appreciate it, too. For example, the squirrel monkeys in Rapperswil Zoo began to exhibit significantly increased birth rates not long after they were transferred to their new Webnet-secured enclosure.
A very promising new development in this field was first used in 2010 for the crab-eating macaque enclosure in Basel Zoo: the sleeveless Webnet. It is able to withstand greater stresses than a sleeved wire rope of equal thickness, so that a thinner zoo mesh can be used to increase transparency. Architects engaged in planning new enclosures will be attracted to Webnet mainly because it allows constructions of practically any shape and size.
The primary supporting structures for the mesh can be steel pylons such as those used in Hannover, Rapperswil or Basel, or the steel arches that accent the enclosures in Krakow and Buenos Aires. Of course, Webnet can also simply be strung between the ground and a protective roof, as in the aviary in Geneva. The architectural and design options are still far from exhausted.
At any rate, Jakob not only supplies turnkey systems, but also provides competent and committed support to architects in the development of solutions. So far, Webnet has been used mainly for monkey enclosures and aviaries. However, it is equally suitable for predatory animals, as demonstrated at Krakow Zoo, which houses Siberian tigers, panthers and snow leopards in an enclosure secured with Webnet. In principle, Webnet allows the construction of enclosures for most land animal species, as the size and resilience of the mesh structure can be adjusted to suit any specific requirements simply by choosing wire ropes of the appropriate diameter. Given these advantages, it is justifiable to predict a bright future for Webnet in the construction of zoo enclosures.Download catalog