What is biodiversity?
Hellabrunn Zoo reopens Species Conservation Center with new permanent exhibition
On Friday, 9 January, the Species Conservation Center at Hellabrunn Zoo reopened to the public after an 18-month closure for planning and renovation. The highlight of the redesigned center is the new permanent exhibition entitled Biodiversity: Nature’s Diversity under Threat. The exhibition focuses on the UN Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020 and introduces the issue of biodiversity to a wider audience. The opening of the new exhibition also marks a new direction for Hellabrunn Zoo as a GeoZoo promoting biodiversity. The completely revamped exhibition space features digital information access points, large illustrated wall panels with text in German and English, a small film room, computer terminals for a biodiversity quiz, display cases and a temporary exhibition wall, covering an area of 165 m². The Species Conservation Center was first opened in 2007 on the site of the former Chimpanzee House.
Biodiversity is a topic that lies close to the heart of zoo director Rasem Baban: "We want to pique the interest of our visitors to the Species Conservation Center for an immensely important, but complex issue: nature and wildlife conservation. Hellabrunn Zoo supports eleven different wildlife conservation projects such as for the drill, the polar bear and the Sumatran Orang Utan. The animals at Hellabrunn are ambassadors for their endangered fellow species in the wild and are therefore of particular importance. The new permanent exhibition in the Species Conservation Center will give visitors an insight into threat causes, conservation projects, nature and wildlife conservation, and biodiversity."
Visitors to the new permanent exhibition are invited to venture on a journey of discovery, during which interesting facts are presented in an entertaining way: What does the abstract concept biodiversity mean? How is the diversity of flora and fauna being threatened? What conservation projects does Hellabrunn Zoo support? And how can each visitor play a part to help protect biodiversity? The information is explained in German and English using illustrations as well as display cases with objects from everyday life which demonstrate the impact of human activity on biodiversity. Visitors can find further information on the impact of their daily activities in a brochure on conservation tips, which they can take home. The exhibition also features two computer terminals that invite visitors to test their knowledge on biodiversity in a fun quiz. Rotating cubes are used to introduce 60 lesser-known, but fascinating animals at Hellabrunn (which has over 750 species) to illustrate biodiversity at the Munich zoo.
"As Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture, I am particularly delighted to open the newly designed Species Conservation Center," says Christine Strobl, Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the zoo. "This demonstrates Hellabrunn zoo's commitment to its mission as an educational institution with the aim to protect nature and wildlife. With the permanent exhibition Biodiversity: Nature's Diversity under Threat, Hellabrunn has made an important step in educating visitors about the all-important issue of biodiversity."
Also attending the opening ceremony was the UN Decade Ambassador for Biodiversity and wildlife photographer, Norbert Rosing. As the adoptive father of Hellabrunn’s polar bear cub Nobby, Rosing made it a priority to attend to show his support for the zoo. Human consumer behaviour impacts the biodiversity of our planet, resulting in dramatic losses in animal and plant species on a daily basis. It also causes problems such as climate change, habitat destruction, overexploitation of natural resources and environmental pollution. The exhibition at the Species Conservation Center presents these complex relationships using illustrations and exhibits in a format that is easy for both kids and adults to understand.
Get more informations about the exhibition here: Biodiversity: Nature's Diversity under Threat