A Safari Zoo? What If All Zoo Animals Were Cage-Free?

cage-free zoo photo

Could the safari zoo format be the zoo style of the future?

For animal lovers, zoos present obstacles. Zoos introduce the public to animals that they may likely never see, and as a result, not be as concerned about protecting along with their habitats. And zookeepers are among the most educated and concerned about the animals they care for. At the same time, no animal should be caged just for the amusement of the public. But what if the zoos of the future were cage-free like a safari zoo?

The Danish architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is working on a safari zoo in Denmark called Zootopia that it hopes will be the zoo of the future. It’s all about the successful cohabitation of humans and different species of animals. Though it’s still in the concept phase, it will be made up of entire habitats of animals that like to be together in larger groups.

“Which means you won’t have a lonely tiger walking around inside a cage,” Bjarke Ingels says on NPR. “You’ll have … all kinds of animals that like to be together in larger groups, so that we can actually create entire habitats.”

Zootopia will resemble a giant crater where humans can look over the edge and have incredible views of the animals in their habitats. It will be divided into three sections: Africa, America, and Asia. Visitors will move through the park in all kinds of ways like cable cars, bikes, boats, and cars.

“The idea is interfacing with animals in completely new ways,” Ingels says on NPR. “What we’ve tried to do is eliminate all traces of human architecture.”

It makes me think of Jurassic Park minus the dinosaurs and the innate danger.

“The main contribution of Zootopia to the animal welfare is that because they are all social animals, they live really live with much more space than in a typical zoo,” he says. “Both the human experience and the animal experience is going to be much more exciting.”

It’s a thrilling idea and I can’t wait to pay this park a visit. Although we’re still five years away from its opening.

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Image: Karen Roe