Evaluation of the Municipal Zoological Garden in Lodz, Poland, during the preparation of a development strategy



In 2008, the president of the city of Lodz appointed a committee to devise a four-part development strategy for the Municipal Zoological Garden in Lodz. One of the committee's tasks was to diagnose the current condition of the Zoo with special attention being given to: (1) area development and utilization; (2) condition of the facility and infrastructure; (3) animal keeping and breeding conditions, such as welfare and quality of the exhibits, including their educational value and attractiveness to visitors; and (4) evaluation of the landscape and aesthetics. A system of five ordinal scales (from 1 to 5) was developed and used to evaluate the Zoo. Evaluation of all technical facilities and infrastructure was based on their technical condition and aesthetics. However, animal exhibits were additionally evaluated on their attractiveness to visitors, ability to meet animal welfare needs and educational value. The total grade attained for the whole Zoo was 2·5 points. Moreover, an on-site inspection and analysis of information concerning the infrastructure allowed for a prediction of the area available for development and utilization, which amounted to 35%: the majority of the site (48%) is covered by vegetation. Additionally, it was established that most of the structures within the Zoo are obsolete and only 15% of the area of the Lodz Zoo contained attractive exhibits that should be preserved as a framework for further development.