High heating costs: do animals at Zoom Erlebniswelt have to freeze?

It’s summer all year round in the big tropical paradise of Gelsenkirchen Zoom Erlebniswelt. What does that mean in terms of the energy crisis.

“Regardless of the weather: in the tropical paradise ELE of 4,500 square meters, tropical climatic conditions prevail all year round”: With these words, Zoom Erlebniswelt proudly displays its tropical hall on its website, where a number of exotic creatures of the Vietnamese algae frog to the orangutan. They are proud words of the most ordinary times. Today, when the specter of a power shortage looms, the question arises: can a huge tropical house, where there are always warm and humid summers, continue to operate as usual when – to put it bluntly – the whole of Germany has to do so. Freeze?

Zoom chief Erlebniswelt Gelsenkirchen: ‘When it comes to animals, I don’t see any way to save’

Hendrik Berendson, President of Zoom Erlebniswelt, currently offers a clear answer to such questions: “Animal welfare is the top priority!” Lower the temperature in animal pens, which come from warm regions of the world, or increase the water Lowering the temperature of the hippos, as the city has long done with swimming pools, is not an option. “We now have these animals, including many protected species, and therefore an obligation to conserve them in a species-appropriate manner.”

Berendson sees the potential for “marginal” savings in energy costs when housing the animals in heating systems such as the plateau on the outside of the lion’s enclosure, where there is underfloor heating. Lions like to feel comfortable there and then become clearly visible to visitors. If you turn off the floor heating, the lion family will still have its warm interior, where it can also be clearly seen. There are no comparable places at the zoo that don’t necessarily need heating, Berendson says.

Zoom Erlebniswelt is mainly provided with area heating. According to Berendson, there are also cogeneration plants in the building, from which energy can be produced independently.

Zoom Erlebniswelt Gelsenkirchen made big losses in the Corona years – now difficult times loom again

The manager does not provide any information on rising heating costs in a tropical home or other areas of the zoom, but says, “In terms of area, tropical paradise is the largest area causing the most energy costs.” Reducing tropical home costs alone is, however, I only By making up a small part of the total zoom process. “We also have a predator house, a rhino house, and there are several stables and indoor areas that need to be heated.” In general, it is clear that the normal operation of the zoo is associated with high energy consumption.

“We are of course also concerned about how things will play out and play through a variety of price increases in our accounts — 25, 50, 100 percent,” Berendson says. As in many other companies, Zoom Erlebniswelt, part of the Stadtwerke Group, will face another, if not more difficult, time after the difficult Corona period. In 2020, when Corona was closed, sales in the zoom already fell from 12.4 to 8.8 million euros. In 2021, sales rose again to 10.7 million euros, but the fact that the zoo could last into the pre-Corona period with massive energy prices would come close to an economic miracle.

According to Berndson, “few adjustment screws” that can be used to save energy and reduce costs can now be seen in administration buildings or in lighting. “We are doing everything possible, checking temperatures in office buildings, and toilets,” says the Zoom chief — but he stresses again: “In terms of animals, we don’t see any way to save energy.”

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