Worldwide the mangroves are threatened due to intensive prawn farming and the explosive growth in population. Because of this large sections of mangrove are disappearing, even though mangroves have an essential function in nature. Royal Burgers' Zoo wants to create awareness in its visitors and is building the world's largest covered mangrove with an area of over 3,000 m² in Arnhem.
The energy efficient hall at the Arnhem Zoo is for the most part inspired by the country Belize, which is located in Central America. For over 27 years Burgers' Zoo has been protecting a nature reserve in Belize, of which the mangrove is a significant part. With this new building project the Arnhem Zoo continues the tradition of the eco-displays: amaze visitors with ecosystems that are as close to nature as possible and in which the animals largely live in freedom.
Mangroves are called the delivery room of the ocean. Numerous species of fish and other inhabitants of the tropical coral reef are spawned in the mangrove. In turn this draws birds, reptiles and mammals, which search for food or shelter in these often difficult to reach wildlife areas. Mangroves protect the coast lines against tropical storms by breaking the waves and holding the sand with their roots. Worldwide the mangroves are threatened due to intensive prawn farming and the explosive growth in population, for which many mangroves are cut down and disappear forever. Burgers' Zoo wants to create awareness for this special, vulnerable ecosystem in its visitors, hoping to bring about a permanent, positive change in behaviour with respect to this part of wild life.
On a total area of over 3,000 m² the visitor makes a voyage of discovery through a completely covered and as naturally as possible reflected mangrove inspired for the most part by the country Belize, which is located in Central America. For over 27 years already Burgers’ Zoo together with the Swiss Zoo, Papiliorama, has been protecting a nature reserve in Belize (CSFI Shipstern / currently the size of about 400 km²) of which the mangrove is a significant part. The Belizean nature reserve is the model for the energy efficient new building project of Burgers' Mangrove and will be very recognisable in its design. With the covered mangrove, which will open in the spring of 2017, Burgers' Zoo wants to create awareness for the vulnerability of this piece of unspoilt nature in Belize by means of 'story-telling'.
During the design phase of the project much time and attention was devoted to the durability of the building. The energy in the building will be generated by solar panels, on a warm day the temperature will be regulated by sun blinds and, also in this building, a heat/cold storage facility will be created. This is a method of storing energy underground in the form of heat or cold. The technique is used to heat or cool buildings. Also water will be transported via gravity, which saves a lot of energy with the water filtration.
The visitor starts in the Central-American Belize with characteristic little houses. Via one of the little houses the visitors walks into the ecosystem of the mangrove, where all the animals largely live in freedom. On the inside are also little houses, which connect the indoors and the outdoors with each other. Next the adventurer curiously walks across a little beach with, among others, iguanas that serves as a transition between the land and the manatee creek, which is crossed via a bridge. The plank bridge winds through a mangrove forest and ends at a mud plain where crabs are busy everywhere collecting their food during low tide and finding a safe haven during high tide. Also the fish and mangrove jelly-fish can be observed from up close. Slowly the visitor walks down until suddenly he stands face to face with manatees, thanks to a large panorama window of 12 x 1.8 metres. The path leads further inland through the higher tropical dry forest with its many nectar plants, where not just over one thousand butterflies can be discovered, but also other animal species, like various birds and reptiles. Nowhere in the world can such a large variety of mangrove animals and species of plants be found under one roof and create such a lifelike designed ecosystem.