DE
06.06.16

Hellabrunn Zoo night a major success despite rain

Over 3,000 visitors attended the launch of Biodiversity Night at Hellabrunn Zoo on Saturday, 4 June, and despite the rain enjoyed a magical night at the Munich zoo.

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Jörg Koch

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Jörg Koch

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Jörg Koch

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Müller

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Müller

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Müller

On 3 - 5 June, Hellabrunn Zoo launched its first Biodiversity Weekend. The event invited various environmental and conservation organisations to inform the public about their work. During the day there were plenty of activities for children and in the evening the zoo reopened its gates between 7pm and 12am - the first night opening in its history. Over 3,000 visitors attended the special inaugural event at the zoo. They enjoyed an exciting programme of music, animal talks, documentary films and much more. The primary aim of the event was to raise awareness for diversity of life. The event also offered visitors a glimpse of nocturnal life in the zoo and what happens after the gates are closed at night. "It was very exciting for us to see whether the concept would appeal to our visitors," says zoo director Rasem Baban. "The response was extremely positive."

"Great!", "A magical night!", "We'll be back next year, hopefully it'll be a warm summer's night"... just some of the feedback on the Hellabrunn Zoo Facebook page. Only a few allowed the short downpour at the start of the event to spoil the mood.

"It was only when the gates were opened at 7pm we were caught a little by surprise by the massive crowd waiting to get in and we needed about 15 minutes to open another entrance for the visitors," says Baban. "But otherwise the event went smoothly and was well organised."  As darkness descended, some areas of the zoo were illuminated in a romantic light, which combined with the sounds of the piano, harp and saxophone and double bass duet, as well as other gentle background music created a fairy tale picture. With Biodiversity Night, Hellabrunn not only aims to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity, nature and environmental protection among regular zoo visitors, but also the wider public. "The feedback we have received so far from the nature and environmental protection organisations who participated in the Biodiversity Weekend has been very positive. We are confident that we have achieved our goal of making as many people as possible aware of the various ways we can all help protect biodiversity and nature," adds Baban.

"And finally, we can say that it was also an exciting evening for our animals. We monitored them closely for the entire time in order to be able to intervene immediately in case of an emergency," explains curator Bea Koehler. Special emphasis was placed on the welfare of the animals right from the planning phase of the inaugural night. As a result, all the stages were carefully positioned. Also the majority of the music was purely acoustic with tests conducted beforehand to verify how the animals react to the planned acoustic sounds. The zoo will now evaluate the experiences of this inaugural event as well as review visitor feedback and suggestions, and then decide whether to stage the event again next year.