Sector Leisure and hospitality
Project type New build
Services provided Site survey
Planning advice
Product / system manufacture
Product / system supply
Year completed 2014
Project location Wales
Client Folly Farm Adventure Park & Zoo
Consultant CLD Fencing Systems
Products used Dulok Double Wire panel system
 
 

Challenge

Folly Farm Adventure Park & Zoo in Pembrokeshire was founded from a former dairy farm in 1988, with the key principles of education, conservation, research and animal welfare.

Voted the best family attraction in Wales 2010-12, it has been preparing for the arrival of a pride of African lions for over a year, and amongst the top priorities has been the design and manufacture of their enclosure.

Zoo Manager Tim Morphew said: “I have always had a hand in the construction techniques employed in the enclosures that I have managed, and I have a passion for learning how they work and in helping design how they look.”

“When it came to designing the enclosure, my first job was to visit as many big cat collections as I could,” Tim explains. “I noted the things I liked, and the things I didn’t like so that we could create something ideally suited to Folly Farm. I sent staff to work with big cats throughout the UK, and read up on husbandry guidelines."

The welfare of the lions and the safety aspects for visitors and staff were the top priorities in the design of the fencing.

“We cleared the two-acre area within Folly Farm which we had set aside for the lions, and examined the topography of the land,” Tim continued. “We worked out how many lions we could manage in that space, and then I began considering what could go wrong so that we could design the enclosure to cope with any eventuality.

Tim also had to consider its longevity - investing £500,000 in an attraction means it has to stand the test of time. “We had to pre-empt a 20-year future, which is the lifespan of the lions and the time the enclosure must last. The system at Blackpool Zoo had really stood out when I was researching, and found that it had been manufactured by CLD Fencing Systems at a competitive price, so I got in touch with them.”

Solution

The CLD Fencing Systems team visited Folly Farm to talk through the project: how to cope with the slight slope on the land; what construction techniques would be best; and what advice they had on the way the project’s main contractor should install it.

A dark green mesh was recommended to blend in with the surroundings.

CLD's mesh is 6mm thick on the vertical strands, and 8mm on the horizontal, and has been provided not just for the enclosure, but also for the four very large dens inside it. “This is the strength of mesh needed to keep lions in,” Tim explains. “Just like in the wild, they check out their boundaries and learn where their territory is, and they will chew everything, so we can’t afford the risk that they could chew through this. The Folly Farm lions are from the UK and have been captive-bred, so they are accustomed to an enclosure, but we couldn’t take the remotest risk.”

Outcome

The exciting new attraction has open-topped rocky outcrops inside where the lions can sit at height, with a beautiful view right over the park. One of the four dens is completely out of public view, so if a lion wants to get away from it all, they can. All the dens lead out onto five yards which in turn lead onto two paddocks.

Tim continued “I was very pleased with the colour they recommended – it’s quite a dark green and blends in with the trees. You don’t expect a 17ft high fence to blend into the landscape but this really does it well,” says Tim. “You feel secure behind it, and the mesh doesn’t have the image of a cage, which people tend not to like; instead it enhances the amount of land that the lions occupy.”

Tim used guidelines from the American Association of Zoos and the Irish equivalent (in Ireland there are a number of privately kept lions as the laws there are different), to help him work out the detail, because of the lack of African lion breeding programme in Europe.

“We have exceeded those guidelines,” he says. “For example they suggest a 12ft high fence with an overhang inside; we have 14ft high with a 3.5ft overhang.”


Challenge

Folly Farm Adventure Park & Zoo in Pembrokeshire was founded from a former dairy farm in 1988, with the key principles of education, conservation, research and animal welfare.

Voted the best family attraction in Wales 2010-12, it has been preparing for the arrival of a pride of African lions for over a year, and amongst the top priorities has been the design and manufacture of their enclosure.

Zoo Manager Tim Morphew said: “I have always had a hand in the construction techniques employed in the enclosures that I have managed, and I have a passion for learning how they work and in helping design how they look.”

“When it came to designing the enclosure, my first job was to visit as many big cat collections as I could,” Tim explains. “I noted the things I liked, and the things I didn’t like so that we could create something ideally suited to Folly Farm. I sent staff to work with big cats throughout the UK, and read up on husbandry guidelines."

The welfare of the lions and the safety aspects for visitors and staff were the top priorities in the design of the fencing.

“We cleared the two-acre area within Folly Farm which we had set aside for the lions, and examined the topography of the land,” Tim continued. “We worked out how many lions we could manage in that space, and then I began considering what could go wrong so that we could design the enclosure to cope with any eventuality.

Tim also had to consider its longevity - investing £500,000 in an attraction means it has to stand the test of time. “We had to pre-empt a 20-year future, which is the lifespan of the lions and the time the enclosure must last. The system at Blackpool Zoo had really stood out when I was researching, and found that it had been manufactured by CLD Fencing Systems at a competitive price, so I got in touch with them.”

Solution

The CLD Fencing Systems team visited Folly Farm to talk through the project: how to cope with the slight slope on the land; what construction techniques would be best; and what advice they had on the way the project’s main contractor should install it.

A dark green mesh was recommended to blend in with the surroundings.

CLD's mesh is 6mm thick on the vertical strands, and 8mm on the horizontal, and has been provided not just for the enclosure, but also for the four very large dens inside it. “This is the strength of mesh needed to keep lions in,” Tim explains. “Just like in the wild, they check out their boundaries and learn where their territory is, and they will chew everything, so we can’t afford the risk that they could chew through this. The Folly Farm lions are from the UK and have been captive-bred, so they are accustomed to an enclosure, but we couldn’t take the remotest risk.”

Outcome

The exciting new attraction has open-topped rocky outcrops inside where the lions can sit at height, with a beautiful view right over the park. One of the four dens is completely out of public view, so if a lion wants to get away from it all, they can. All the dens lead out onto five yards which in turn lead onto two paddocks.

Tim continued “I was very pleased with the colour they recommended – it’s quite a dark green and blends in with the trees. You don’t expect a 17ft high fence to blend into the landscape but this really does it well,” says Tim. “You feel secure behind it, and the mesh doesn’t have the image of a cage, which people tend not to like; instead it enhances the amount of land that the lions occupy.”

Tim used guidelines from the American Association of Zoos and the Irish equivalent (in Ireland there are a number of privately kept lions as the laws there are different), to help him work out the detail, because of the lack of African lion breeding programme in Europe.

“We have exceeded those guidelines,” he says. “For example they suggest a 12ft high fence with an overhang inside; we have 14ft high with a 3.5ft overhang.”


 
 
 
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