The children cannot wait to ride on them – and anyone who has enjoyed an elephant ride at some time in their life knows how much fun it is to be so near to these animals. Elephants are large mammals. Traditionally, two species are recognized: the African and the Asian elephant. The animals are scattered throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. Male African elephants, the largest living terrestrial animals, can reach a height of four meters and weigh seven tones.
These animals have several distinctive features, including the long famous trunk used for many purposes, particularly for grasping objects. They communicate by touch, sight, and sound, also using infrasound and seismic communication over long distances. Calves are the center of attention in the female family groups and rely on their mothers for as long as three years. Elephant intelligence has been compared with that of primates and cetaceans. They appear to have self-awareness and show empathy for dying or dead individuals of their kind.
New home adapted to the elephants` needs
To provide these sensitive animals with an appropriate facility in a zoo, the primary focus must be on the elephants’ needs. Sika Switzerland recently provided some innovative technologies that made a significant contribution to Zurich Zoo’s unique new elephant building. The new elephant enclosure is eight times larger than at present, offering ideal conditions that are compatible with their species-specific behavior. The complex consists of a large outdoor park plus a species-appropriate elephant house, which protects them from outside weather conditions and provides them a quiet place where they also receive their care.
Multi-layer roof structure
The striking, bright wooden elephant house roof covering an area of some 6,000 m² and weighing about 1,500 tons is architecturally unique. This multi-layer roof structure is sealed with the Sarnafil® Roof System against weather conditions. It is supported by a filigree concrete structure. In the newly introduced elephant stalls, Sikalastic® Polyurea flooring and walls protect against corrosion by the highly aggressive feces and urine.
Concrete for wellness
Sika products are also used for the rain water tanks and the treatment plant for the elephants’ bathing water. All concrete work on the main building was carried out with Sika®ViscoCrete® and sealed with the Sikadur-Combiflex® System. As of spring 2014 you can visit the elephants in their new enclosure! They are already looking forward to see you!