The World’s First Multi-Species Rotational Exhibit
The Islands exhibit encourages visitors to explore the concept of Islands as ecological treasures. Adapted through eons of isolation, island species are uniquely vulnerable to changes brought about by natural forces or introduced by humans due to their inherent limited resources in a finite environment.
All of the animals in the Islands exhibit are endangered or threatened species. The Louisville Zoo is helping to protect these species and their island homes by showing guests that islands are unique environments with limited resources; a delicate balance between man and nature must be maintained for both to survive.
The sequence of animal rotation simulates the way these animals live in the wild and emulates the food chain inherent in the Indonesian wilderness. A natural predator/prey scenario plays out when the animals sense that other animals have been there. In turn, this stimulates them and heightens the animals’ awareness, therefore, creating a more active exhibit.
Rotating different animal species through various habitats, allows the animals to experience changing environments. The new surroundings provide more interest and stimulation for the animals.
Changing the species of the various habitats provides the visitor with a new and different experience during each visit to the Zoo.
The architectural style of the viewing buildings creates an Indonesian village atmosphere, in keeping with the Island’s theme. The view buildings are organized around a common area to recreate the village environment. The heavy timber, cedar post and beam construction are suggestive of the traditional framing techniques incorporating rough-hewn logs gathered from the forest.
A stream, the life force of the monsoon forest, flows along the perimeter of these viewing buildings. Man-made rockwork provides the mud bank backdrop for the native environment, recreated for the animals and the viewer. The entire collage of elements attempts to reinforce the idea that the animals, vegetation and people are together as one and not isolated from one another.
Hot rocks are strategically located in each outdoor habitat near prime viewing locations to extend the viewing opportunities during the year and provide a warm spot for the animals to be more comfortable in cooler months while on exhibit.
A series of overhead, at grade and below grade transfer aisles are configured to allow safe passage of predator and prey species from the holding area into the exhibits. This allows maximum flexibility to situate the animals in anyone of the three outdoor and one indoor habitat. This also provides protection to the keepers that are orchestrating the complex series of transfer doors. This is the system that allows five different species to rotate between four different habitats.
The interior holding areas also have this intricate series of transfers that allow rotation from inside to outside as well as provide flexibility in animal management opportunities to group or segregate animals as needed to facilitate animal health and safety.