New "Outback" exhibit now open
Wednesday 17 September 2008
A cold spot where polar bears once roamed is heating up after becoming home to wallabies and emus.
The Mappin Terrace, once home to ZSL London Zoo’s polar bears, now plays host to the zoo’s very own Outback exhibit – marking a new phase for the historic landscape.
The Terrace, built in 1913, has been transformed into a sweeping Australian plain in a bid to raise awareness of the difficulty animals face living in extreme conditions.
Polar bears have become the popular image representing climate change but Outback highlights how it affects animals in warmer climates.
ZSL Zoological Director, David Field, said: 'Polar Bears have become the symbol of climate change but by transforming this exhibit we can use the zoo’s unique history to explain that when it comes to climate change the script is the same, regardless of the cast.'
The new territory at ZSL London Zoo is home to a mob of over 20 wallabies and four emus. The exhibit demonstrates how difficult it is for animals to survive in harsh dry conditions. It reveals that the changing climate means more of the world’s wildlife will have the same fight for survival as animals in the arid climes of the outback.
Australian Climate Change Special Envoy, Howard Bamsey, agrees: 'Climate change is magnifying our [Australia’s] traditional climatic challenges, presenting new and greater threats to our unique and fragile environments and ecosystems.'
ZSL London Zoo is one of the first zoos in the UK to actively incorporate climate change into its education remit which includes an active Climate Change Group, a Climate Change Session for schools and an interactive Climate Change Exhibit; the only one of its kind in the UK.
Visitors are asked to pledge a way in which they can help reduce their carbon emissions. The exhibit shows how the issue will affect biodiversity and different habitats across the world. Over 10,000 people have made a pledge with the most popular being a child cycling to school.