It’s fun to look back at some of the “Before Construction” photos and compare them to what those same areas look like now during construction. Here are a couple of examples:
Below is a photo of an enclosure that housed fishing cats. In the new building design, this area will house bearcats, also known as binturongs, and will hopefully feature a breeding pair. (Fishing cats will be on display in a different enclosure that features an enlarged swimming pool with underwater viewing.)
Below is the same enclosure during construction. To enlarge the animal space, the exhibit will be extended out so that the viewing glass is flush with the wall. You’ll notice, also, that the dingy carpet is gone. Woo hoo!
The picture below is a weird little alcove with a viewing window into an exhibit. You had to climb up two stairs to get up to the glass. Visitors rarely read the text-heavy signage highlighting our conservation efforts with small cats mounted nearby. The odd little planter with mulch and fake plants just takes up valuable space.
The plan for this area is to build an interactive space that simulates an aardvark den into which kids can crawl and belly up to an aardvark on the other side of the viewing window. So far, we’ve just opened up the space by taking out the planter and steps. Oh, and the dingy carpet is gone. Woo hoo!
We are also moving forward with producing a soundtrack. John Curley of Ultrasuede Studio (left) is working with us to create a fabulous night noises soundtrack. Here he’s playing some sounds for Dutch Mulholland (Information Technology), Dan Marsh (Director of Education), and me. John has worked on the sounds in some of our other exhibits so he’s pretty familiar with what we do. On top of a general night noises soundtrack of crickets and katydids, various animal sounds will pipe in when appropriate. For example, near the fossa enclosure, we’ll play fossa and lemur vocalizations. Some sounds we had in house and others I’ve collected from colleagues at other institutions. Still others we went ahead and purchased from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Macauley Library’s animal sounds archive and the Ohio State University’s Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics.
Our resident videographer, Pat Story (Media Projects), recently traveled to the Congo where he filmed lots of great footage in the forest. He’s going through some of his footage and pulling some audio bits that could feed nicely into the Night Hunters soundtrack, too.