Certainly within Europe Planckendael has to be a contender for one of my favourite zoos. Generally we will take a couple of hours to make our way around your average zoo…. And it doesn’t even seem to matter too much how big it is. We have a real passion for seeing things which we have never seen before, whether this be husbandry techniques, species or enclosure designs. This zoo really kept us busy and made it a struggle to fit it all in during the time we had.
A lot of zoos use themed zones now to allow their collection to flow and fit together. I’m a big fan of small themed sections however generally don’t like it when zoos are split in to areas such as this. I enjoy seeing animals and learning about them on their own particular merits – however at this park the layout works really well.
Even though it has different geographical sections (Asian, African, American, European and Oceania), the way you make your way through the whole collection still makes a lot of sense and feel fairly natural.
Now for the most important part of any zoo…. The animal collection!
This collection is very similar to the majority of large zoos in Europe, in that it has a number of core species which seem to crop up just about everywhere:
- A great ape (in this case bonobos)
- Malayan tapir
- Red pandas
- Prezwalski horses
Now don’t get me wrong, I love seeing these species, and it was particularly nice to see bonobos as their choice of great ape, and the elephants were displayed in one of the best enclosures I have ever seen for these giants…. I would say that award should be a tussle between Planckendael and Cologne!
However, what I love about zoos is when you seen an animals which you have never seen before or not seen very often. Some of the more unusual species represented here included; koala, echidna, bush dogs, green peafowl and whilst bison are common in zoos over here, it was pretty cool to see both European and American bison in the same place.
The quality of the enclosures and subsequent care of the animals in this park is absolutely exemplary and it is this in particular which makes this one of my favourites! Enclosures are not only spacious but also very well constructed and decorated giving the perfect blend between what is best for visitors, what is best for the keepers and ultimately what is best for the animals living in those enclosures.