Orientarium opens in Łódź – Puls Biznesu

It is the largest investment in the history of the garden. In more than three years a complex has been built in which the fauna and flora of Southeast Asia is presented. The Orientarium covers more than 7.5 hectares. It opened to visitors on April 29.

– We chose Southeast Asia not only because of the attractiveness of the animals that live there, but also because this region is subject to a special human pressure. Many species are extremely endangered – explains Arkadiusz Jaksa, president of the Łódź Zoo.

Investment

Orientarium is the largest investment in the history of the Lodz Garden. We chose Southeast Asia not only because of the appeal of the animals that live there. Many species are extremely endangered – explains Arkadiusz Jaksa, president of the Łódź Zoo.

K. Jarczewskic

Four zones

In the first zone of the Orientarium, the Elephant House, lived Alexander – the largest Indian elephant in Europe – and his younger companion, Taru, and Asian birds fly over the heads of the visitors. In the second zone called Celebes, among other things, oriental dumplings, bank chicken and macaques. In the 26 meter long underwater tunnel you can admire more than 1,300 fish, including rays and reef sharks. In the fourth zone, the Sunda Islands, the Kraken – a gharial crocodile – lives with his partner Penelope. You can also meet Sumatran orangutans, gibbons and Malayan bears.

In addition to the exhibition and culture area, the Orientarium also has a commercial conference and education zone with a room for 300 people, educational rooms, a restaurant for over 200 people and a gastronomic zone with 18 rooms. The standard price for entrance to the garden is PLN 70, people with an active Łódź card pay PLN 40. With one ticket you can visit the entire zoo.

– Taking into account the experience of the Wrocław Africarium, we estimate that we can handle a flow of about 1.5 million visitors per year, which will ensure the self-financing of the facility. Wrocław has proved that such an object can be built not only in Polish conditions, but also enjoys great popularity. I think our offers will not be competitive, but rather complementary – says Arkadiusz Jaksa.

Alexander, come back!

Work on the implementation of the Orientarium began in September 2018. The opening date of the complex, built for more than 260 million PLN, was postponed several times – not only did the pandemic hamper the supply of building materials, but it turned out that new residents who moved from other zoos came to Łódź, they needed a long acclimatization.

– Movement is stress for a person, also for an animal. We do everything we can to keep it to a minimum, so the caretakers of individual animals first went to their family gardens, got to know new pupils and their living conditions. When the animal came to Łódź, the keeper was already known – explains the director of the Łódź Zoo.

Uljana Kałążny is a hydrobiologist by profession and in Orientarium she became head of one of the breeding departments.

– I am from Siberia, I am married to a Pole, I have lived here for almost 15 years. Working in a zoo is my passion. I heard about this investment through the press and I really wanted to join the team. Some animals get used to a new place quickly, while others need more time. First of all, we try to make them feel safe – says the nanny.

And also… knowledge of foreign languages ​​proves to be useful. Admittedly, for animals, words are simply a sequence of sounds, but it’s important that they are familiar and recognizable.

– When the orangutan Joko came to us from the zoo in the west of France, we had to communicate with him in French. Now we are gradually switching to Polish – the caretaker laughs.

Thinking about animals

Thinking about animals

I heard about the investment through the press and I really wanted to join the team. First of all, we try to make animals feel safe with us. With the orangutan Joko from France, you had to communicate with him in French. Now we are gradually switching to Polish – says Uljana Kałążny, head of one of the breeding departments.

K. Jarczewskic

The first tenant of the Orientarium, Alexander the elephant, lived in the zoo in Münster for many years. Alexander is addressed by the guards in German. When Taru joined him—used to communicate in English and Hungarian—it was a mystery to the caretakers how their lives would be arranged.

– Creating the so-called groups of singles is a nice challenge. This is how elephants function in nature – when young males begin to grow up, they are more or less elegantly expelled from their families by the dominant female and join male herds. Here the age difference is huge – Aleksander is 44 years old, Taru will be 9 on New Years Eve. These are two different elements, the younger one is when he is still playing. This can be seen in the daily pool, which the public can view through the window. The youngest almost loves the goats, Aleksander should be encouraged to enter the water with treats – says Ireneusz Dąbrowski, the elephant caretaker.

He is more than a feeder and cleaner. The guardian also cares about the higher needs of animals, their mental well-being and that they feel good in a confined space.

– We provide medical training that teaches collaboration. We make safe contact with animals that are necessary to accept certain treatments, explains Michał Krause, who works with orangutans and Malayan bears. – The male of the orangutan is six times stronger than the human. All great apes choose their own guards, get to know them, get used to them. And if they don’t accept someone, it’s next to impossible for them to work with them. They can manifest it by throwing anything they find at a person, including feces…

– With medical training, you can check whether elephants have healthy legs, hooves, skin, teeth, strokes, tail, ears. We teach animals to accept human touch, which helps their caretakers work safely – the elephant weighs 6 tons, appears calm and slow, but can run faster than a human. His torso is nothing but muscles that can hurt. And by accepting the touch, blood can be drawn for tests if needed, adds Ireneusz Dąbrowski.

To save endangered species

In the 1960s, animals captured from nature were brought to zoos. Now the acquisition of new residents is based on exchanges between gardens, most of the animals are subject to breeding programs. They have their population coordinators who know, for example, which individuals are related and which can be combined to produce strong and healthy offspring. Without the operation of gardens and the functioning of breeding programs, some species would not have been saved.

The smallest bears in the world – Malay Biruangs – have been getting used to their run for several months now. The male is 22-23 years old, he came to Łódź from the Netherlands.

– Male Somnang (Lucky) was born in the wild, but became a victim of the illegal trade in animals. In 2004, it was picked up by Free the Bears Fund from people who treated it like a toy. He ended up in a rehabilitation center in Cambodia and then in European zoos, where he restored the population of Malayan bears as a genetically valuable male. In 2010, Somnang was moved from the garden in Edinburgh to the zoo in Arnhem – says Michał Krause.

It is a very rare species that is threatened with extinction in the natural environment, mainly due to deforestation and the destruction of the ecosystem. In Asia, this process is very fast, even in national parks. That is why it is so important that zoos are places to maintain the genetic pool of endangered species. In Łódź Somnang moved to the four-year-old female Batu. The caretakers hope that in the future the couple will have offspring, because the birth of each new representative of such an endangered species is priceless. They are also hoping for the offspring of a few orangutans coming from the Basel Zoo. The female Ketawa is 8 years old and weighs about 30 kg. Male Budi is a 17-year-old male weighing approximately 80 kg.

Michał Krause, dealing with orangutans and Malayan bears

Michał Krause, dealing with orangutans and Malayan bears

Sumatran orangutans are my favorite and for me the most interesting species in the Orientarium in Łódź. By taking care of them, I encouraged them to come and work here – says Michał Krause, who works with orangutans and Malayan bears at the Orientarium.

K. Jarczewskic

– They have about 1,000 m² at their disposal on the internal slopes, and a few thousand more on the outside, which we will prepare gradually. Orangutans are highly intelligent animals that immediately show us what needs to be improved. Only 13 thousand survived in nature. individuals, there has been a massive population decline in recent years. The main reason is deforestation associated with palm oil production – explains Michał Krause. from

The zoo’s president emphasizes that modern gardens are not used to enslave animals, but are an attempt to pay tribute to destroying nature, taking animals home, killing feathers, fur and horns.

– Remember that the destruction of one species brings the death of others, and we are part of this chain. An important part of our activities will therefore not only be to show endangered species, but also to speak out loud what we can do to save them together. That is also the mission of the Orientarium in Łódź, concludes Arkadiusz Jaksa.

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