You want your zoo to be top of the list when it comes to choosing the ultimate day out, and although the public may not think too much about it, fencing plays a huge part in that. It needs to be completely secure, keeping the animals contained and visitors at a safe distance, yet still able to see their favourites clearly. In addition, effective zoo fencing enhances the customer experience; it should do its job so well that visitors don’t even notice it’s there. So here are a few questions you need to ask when selecting fencing for your zoo.
1. Which material should you choose?
You want strong, sturdy and hard-wearing materials. Will you choose mesh, spectator railings or vertical bar railings? Consider the size of the animal, its strength and its capabilities. For example, fences for large cat exhibits such as lion or tiger enclosures need to resist impact from these large, powerful animals, yet high enough so the animal cannot jump the fencing, so mesh and metal fences would be best. In contrast, some four-legged animals may only require a spectator railing to act as a pen around their enclosure. Remember that no matter which material you choose, the public needs to see the animals, and the animals need to be safe from the public.
2. Is the fencing safe for the animals?
The fences need to protect the animals, preventing them from escaping into other enclosures or public areas while stopping visitors from getting in. Failure to provide safe fencing puts the animals is not only in danger but also staff and visitors. Think about special requirements according to the animal; primates will be able to scale some fences extremely quickly, and birds may be able to fly out of enclosures that aren’t completely covered. Does there need to be cranked toppings, netting or alarm wires?
3. Will the fencing blend in?
The less noticeable zoo fencing is, the better, as the public wants a seamless experience to feel as close to the animals as possible. Consider colour; does a fence need to be green to blend in with surrounding trees, for example?