Special exhibition from November 2023 to and including March 2024.
The little baby mammoth in search of his mommy.
Frozen in the ice age
The animals of the last Ice Age were large and had thick, shaggy fur. They were well adapted to the cold and vast steppes. But about 24,000 years ago, the climate gradually warmed: Sea levels rose and water flooded the land. Forests grew in place of steppes. Many animals could not survive in the new environment. The survivors moved north, but there they were completely wiped out by hunting humans.
Species extinction today
Many relatives of the Ice Age giants are fighting for survival again today. But today, we humans are the driving force: We are destroying habitats, hunting animals, and changing the climate at a rapid pace through our influence on the environment. The extinction of species caused by humans is many times faster than during the last Ice Age.
As a zoo, we are committed to a world where nature, animals and humans all have space.
But nature can also be protected by every single person, because:
Small things can have a big impact
Here we have practical tips for your everyday life and ideas how to actively protect nature.
The best way to reduce the environmental impact of our daily lives is through our diet. The goal is to eat more plant-based food. After all, the production of meat and other animal-based foods requires a lot of resources such as water, arable land and energy.
Around half of all arable land in Switzerland is used solely for animal feed production – and we buy additional feed from abroad. Eating meat very selectively and overall preferring a vegetarian menu makes a big difference to our daily ecological footprint.
Get creative: With a little imagination, giving up meat is easy. Photo: iStockphoto, serg78
Fifty percent of the meals on the menus in our restaurants are vegetarian or vegan. In addition, our fish comes exclusively from Swiss waters or is farmed in Switzerland. And, we do not serve any seafood, shellfish or seafood at all.
Strawberries in winter? Better not. The carbon footprint of strawberries that have traveled far and originate from the greenhouse is ten times as large as that of seasonal strawberries from the region.
This ratio applies not only to strawberries, but generally to all local fruits and vegetables. That's because growing fruit and veg in the appropriate season saves on the heating and ventilation of greenhouses, in addition to the transport routes being much shorter. Paying attention to season and origin is therefore doubly worthwhile. Because nature conservation also starts with everyones personal eating habits.
Colorful, healthy, tasty: seasonal vegetables. Photo: iStockphoto, Sarsmis
In our restaurants, we serve the popular «Züri Frites» that are made exclusively from potatoes grown in the canton of Zurich – deep-fried with Swiss sunflower and rapeseed oil. We also deliberately refrain from using air-freighted goods, i.e. food that is imported by plane.
Piles of leaves and branches are an excellent refuge for many animals: Insects, worms and snails, as well as birds and hedgehogs, readily accept the piles as shelter. Insect larvae and worms feed on the foliage and decomposing wood. At the same time, the foliage protects the soil and plants from frost – a welcome side effect. With this simple trick, you can promote biodiversity on your doorstep.
A simple (and free) trick to promote biodiversity in your own garden: Don't clear away leaves, leave them as piles. Photo: iStockphoto, 77pixels
At Zoo Zurichm not only endangered species such as elephants, giraffes and co. live in nature like habitats. The many ponds, rocky niches, trees and hedges are also home to numerous native species that also urgently need our support.
An insect hotel can easily be built without much effort and cost: With stones, reeds, clay, wood and much more, wonderful habitats can be created. There are no limits to your imagination.
Once set up, all that is needed is a little patience until hotel guests such as bumblebees, ichneumon wasps and wild bees move into the new home. The insect hotel provides numerous insects with a valuable habitat, which in turn promotes biodiversity on the doorstep.
At Zoo Zurich, a hotel for solitary wild bee species is located next to the Lori aviary. In spring, the hotel is bustling with activity as new residents move in and lay their eggs in the prepared holes.
Insect hotels provide valuable habitats and promote biodiversity. Photo: iStockphoto, Kerrick
Instructions: Build an insect hotel
Wild bees, bumblebees and other insects make valuable contributions to maintaining the ecological balance in our gardens and in agriculture. An insect hotel helps the animals to hibernate and is an important nesting aid.
It is important that the individual elements for the insects are mounted on a wall and protected from rain and snow. For example, you can make a roof out of two boards of 50x25 cm with a thickness of about 2 cm and screw it together with a wooden harass. You can then set up the «rooms» for the various insect guests in it.
Wooden rods as nesting aids
- You need dry hardwood such as ash or oak, 10 to 15 cm thick.
- Drill holes up to 10 cm deep with a cordless drill. Caution: Do not drill completely through the wood, the nest tubes must be closed at the back.
- Diameter of the wood drill 3 to 8 mm, leave enough space between the holes.
- Clean the holes carefully and sand the edges so that the bees do not injure themselves.
Life in a tin can
- You need an empty tin can
- Cut dried, hollow plant stems of reed, elder or bamboo to the length of the tin can. In case of the bamboo, make sure that about 10 cm of open tube is left (drill out the «knots» in the stalk if necessary).
- Fill hard and soft stems tightly into the tin so that the material does not fall out loosely.
- As a variation, the tin can also be filled with dry grasses or straw.
Shelter for earwigs in a clay bell
- You need a flower pot with a diameter of about 12 cm
- Tie straw and dry grasses together in a bundle with string and pull the string through the hole in the bottom of the pot.
- Hang the filled pot on a branch in a shady place. Not in the direct vicinity of the insect hotel for wild bees, otherwise the earwig will eat the bees’ eggs or larvae.
Download instructions as PDF:
They may look like chocolate truffles, but they're not meant to be eaten: seed balls. Photo: iStockphoto, miriam-doerr
To promote bees, bumblebees and butterflies in urban areas, homemade seed balls made from precious wild flowers can be thrown into plant borders, parks, traffic islands and the like. Happy throwing!
Ingredients for approx. 20 seed balls
- 200 g clay (available at the drugstore)
- 200 g peat-free potting soil
- 3 packets of flower seeds of various native wildflowers
- 1 small and 1 large bowl
How to make the seed balls:
- Put the different flower seeds in the small bowl and mix.
- Put the potting soil in the large bowl and loosen it up so that there are no lumps or coarse pieces in it. Add the clay and seeds and mix well.
- Gradually add small amounts of water to form balls the size of a walnut. If there is too much water, the mixture becomes too liquid and cannot be shaped. In this case, add some more clay and potting soil.
- Squeeze a small portion of the mixture in the palm of your hand and carefully form balls.
- Leave the finished balls to dry on the newspaper. Caution: Do not put them on the heater, as this would be too warm for the seeds. After about two days, the seed bombs are ready to be thrown.
Now gift the seed balls as presents and/or throw them in your own garden, in plant borders in the neighbourhood or in public parks in spring. (Please do not put them out in private gardens, nature reserves or on agricultural land).
Download instructions as PDF:
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Our 17 ice age animals
In our frozen exhibition you will meet seventeen Ice Age animals belonging to seven different species.
Information about all animals can be found in our animal encyclopedia.