Hoistech has worked with Dublin Zoo for many years, delivering expert lifting solutions to support its day-to-day operations. In this time, we have provided various products and services for the client, including the design and fabrication of safety restraints for animal transit, hoists and lifting mechanisms for aerial feeding (for large animals like giraffes and elephants), and the supply and testing of a wide range of lifting equipment.
During the initial planning for two new animal habitats, the team at Dublin Zoo realised they would need specialist help as both projects presented unique lifting challenges. The vision for the Orangutan Forest was to recreate the ape’s natural treetop habitat, while the Snow Leopard Enclosure posed visibility issues due to the steep nature of the site. Dublin Zoo approached Hoistech to see if we could help create engaging, enriching and, above all, safe solutions for these two new habitats.
Inspired by the tropical rainforests of Borneo and reaching over 10 metres in height, the Orangutan Forest mimics the animal’s natural arboreal environment. It consists of a network of man-made trees with interconnecting vine-like ropes and aerial feeders where the apes can feed at height and swing directly above the visitor walkways.
Similarly, our design for the Snow Leopard Enclosure creates a more authentic habitat and eliminates the need for walls or fencing. This was achieved by connecting a series of uprights with wire ropes and draping mesh to form a fully tensioned cable system – giving the animals a more naturalistic environment and providing visitors with unobstructed observation opportunities.
The key challenge for our team was taking traditional materials and repurposing them across unconventional applications in a safe and effective way. As a result, both projects involved extensive design and engineering phases, and the exceptional nature of the requirements saw us custom-build and fabricate the majority of the components used.
Likewise, the specifying and sourcing of the unusual and premium-quality materials necessary for the enclosures fell far outside standard practices. We drew on our industry knowledge, our network of trusted suppliers, our understanding of the materials’ properties and our in-house skills and technology to develop precision solutions for our client. Following fabrication at our state-of-the-art facilities, each component was thoroughly tested and validated, and our team was on site to oversee the installation process.
Our design solutions help to further Dublin Zoo’s aim to enrich the lives of the animals in its care. By stimulating innate behaviours and adding complexity to their environments, the animals can enjoy spaces that reflect their natural habitats. And, by enabling observation in a more natural and interactive setting, the new enclosures enhance the visitor experience at the same time.
As home to over 400 animals and with more than 1 million visitors each year, safety is of paramount importance in every product and service we deliver to Dublin Zoo. The partnership approach that we take, combined with our unparalleled expertise, assures the client that we are always looking out for the safety of staff, inhabitants and visitors.
Our collaboration with Dublin Zoo has been so successful that the client has referred several international contacts our way. We now work with many zoos around the world, devising innovative solutions to their equally unique lifting challenges.