Urban Jungle

7 maggio 2014
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zoo 3783101_11-1-1226342_545x341zoo4391654_3_1673_baboins-de-guinee_f189265917a8942adc6c056a770fae27Penguins_in_the_zoo_of_vincennesAfter six years of renovation work, Paris’ most famous zoological gardens have reopened, unveiling a new look and layout. At the ripe old age of 80, the Parc Zoologique de Paris – called by the Parisians the “Vincennes Zoo” – has been given a new lease and life. Kept open after the 1931 Colonial Exposition held in eastern Paris to celebrate the diversity and exoticism of the “republican empire” and officially inaugurated by President Lebrun in June 1934, the zoo has deteriorated gradually, eroding from sheer use, a victim of its success in the form of millions of visitors. Having become oblsolete, even dangerous, it was forced to close on 30 November 2008. Instead of bemoaning the closure or ordering slapdash repairs, the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, which manages the zoo, leapt at the opportunity and initiated, not a superficial makeover, but a full metamorphosis, with the objective of making the Vincennes site one of the most magnificent zoos in the world. After 27 months of work (an average of 80 French and European companies and 300 workers toiled on the colossal project every day) and a total investment of 167 million Euro, the Parc Zoologique de Paris has reopened on 12 April 2014. Completely redesigned and redeveloped, the zoo now leads visitors through five different zones or “biozones” (Europe, Madagascar, Guyana, Sahel and Patagonia) representing 16 different natural environments. The zoo is designed as a journey through biodiversity and is now an excellent tool raising awareness about nature, along as serving  as a species-conservation centre and science and research site, where animals are not objects of curiosity, but ambassadors of their natural environment. There are no fences or enclosures: observation facilities are designed to let people be closer to the animals, providing new ways of viewing through large plateglass windows or railings on open enclosures.


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