State of the art development to turn Łódź zoo into one of Europe’s largest exotic habitats
A major modernisation of Łódź zoo will see an area the size of 10 football pitches transformed into a South-East Asian climate complete with an underwater shark tunnel, rare species, and a tropical jungle among its new attractions.
The Łódź Orientarium, the biggest development in the zoo’s history, will cover half of its present area, a total of around 7.5 hectares and feature modern and spacious pavilions, aviaries and enclosures.
It will only be the second development of its kind in Europe after the UK’s South-East Asian habitat at Chester Zoo, and the first Orientarium in mainland Europe.
The new habitat, permanently recreating high temperatures and levels of humidity, will see the introduction of new rare species native to South East Asia, including orangutans, malay tapirs, langurs, sharks and rays as well as Indian elephants, which will be making a return to the zoo after several years.
It will also help the zoo to house and breed its existing gibbons, macaques and sun bears better.
The project, which has been three years in the making, is currently in the finishing stages ahead of its anticipated opening in September 2021 with the arrival of its first animal occupants in June 2021.
Tomasz Jóźwik, Head of Łódź Zoo said: “Building an Orientarium will allow for the joining together of exhibits…This will give us the opportunity to keep animals together with other species in large areas and a diversified habitat.
“This will give them freedom and allow visitors observing them to see them in conditions as near as possible to nature. Above that, the development will be open for visitors all year and the animals won’t have to be moved during colder periods.”
Taking its inspiration from the Africarium at Wrocław Zoo, Poland’s first oceanarium, which also features underwater tunnels, Łódź Zoo hopes that its Orientarium will follow in its footsteps, with the city’s mayor hopeful it will attract visitors from both Poland and abroad as mainland Europe’s only Orientarium.
Hanna Zdanowska, mayor of the City of Łódź said: “In Wrocław, which decided to build an Africarium, the number of visitors rose from 440 thousand to 2 million per year.
“The Orient, which has been chosen by Łódź, is an area uniquely rich in fauna, with several species critically in danger of extinction.
“We hope the Orientarium will be a strong impulse for the development of tourism as Łódź is centrally located in the country and has excellent transport connections. We anticipate visitors not just from Poland, but the whole of Europe.”
Alongside animals, the Orientarium will also house 14,000 plants native to South-East Asia, including bamboo trees, and will also not be short of ecological solutions like its green roof, made up of plants which will create a separate biologically active ecosystem and include beehives and a system for the collection of rain water.
The total cost of the Łódź Orientarium, is estimated at around 260 million PLN.