Vienna-Schönbrunn, 19 September 2016 (Dguendel – Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license)

Facility

Location: Tiergarten Schönbrunn

Address: Maxingstraße 13b, 1130 Wien, Austria

Telephone: +43 1-877 9294

Website: https://www.zoovienna.at/en/

Exhibit: Polar bears are exhibited in “Franz Josef Land”

Bears

Nora (female). Born 24 November 2013 in Tallinn Zoo, Estonia.  Arrived in Vienna from Tallinn on 5 December 2017.

Ranzo (male). Born 18 November 2011 in Ranua Wildlife Park, Finland. Arrived in Vienna from Ranua on 5 May 2014. 

Details

Franz Josef Land was opened on 22 May 2014.  The final cost of the project was reported to be €10.7 million. 

1,700 square metres with rock and gravel surfaces, waterfalls and streams. The water surface is 450 square metres. The largest plunge pool is five metres deep and the total water capacity is 630,000 litres.

The outdoor area available to the bears is 1,700 m2 (0.42 of an acre).  It is designed to represent part of an estuary set in tundra and includes water (450 m2/538 sq. yards total area), waterfalls, streams, boulders and gravel banks together with rock walls to provide various levels.  There is grass, tundra and estuarine vegetation including trees, and deadwood.  total water capacity is 630,000 litres.

Surfaces vary between soil, gravel, grass and woodchips. Water depth varies to a maximum of five metres (5.5 yards) to allow the bears to dive in.  Seperate basins contain fresh and saltwater.  The former contains live trout which the bears sometimes eat.

The enclosure can be divided to separate the animals; for example if a female bear has a cub.

The visitor barrier is 3.5 metre (11.5 feet) high and made of concrete with integrated glass viewing panels.  Two electric fence wires prevent the bears from escaping.

The indoor area is 150 m2 (180 sq. yards) and the bears can access this via slides in the rock walls in the lower area of the enclosure. Inside are five enclosures available to the bears; three are permanently accessible.  Straw bedding is provided together with drinking water.  Access to the outdoor area is permanently available.

Sources: ZooLex (a service of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums). Bear Conservation research.

For more information click here to go to the ZooLex page for this facility (opens in a new window).

Concerns

  1. Use of bears for breeding purposes.
  2. Only 925 m2 of area for each of the current two occupants. Whilst this exceeds the Manitoba Standard it falls far short of our own recommendation for polar bear sanctuaries of at least 8,000 m2 (2 acres) per animal.

We do not at present have reliable information on the feeding, exercise, medical and enrichment regimes at Tiergarten Schönbrunn.

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