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Aug 12, 2006

Russian Ranger Station and Tiger Trail

Russian ranger station and tiger trail from RZSS - Edinburgh Zoo  
Innovative interpretation and trail to raise awaress of the plight of tigers in far east Russia to zoo visitors 

A holistic integrated approach was taken to refurbishing the tiger enclosure. The area was redesigned and planted to give a more natural ‘Russian forest’, and the main visitor viewing area was transformed into a Russian Ranger Station. A tiger tracking trail, with pug marks, scat and scratches was created along the four paths approaching the area (from over 50m away).

The interpretation was based upon the success the rangers have had in reducing poaching, and planned with specific learning, emotional and doing outcomes. The Station included models of paw, head, and skull, alongside small information panels, photographs and reports from the rangers themselves, Russian flag, stove and hurricane lamps. Adjacent to the ‘Station’ an area was signed in Russian and English as the Russia-China border, with flags of both countries.

15% of the interpretation budget was used to directly support the work of the Russian Rangers themselves (through the charity Amur).

Visitor response and use of the trail was formally assessed by an independent research student. This indicated 43% of visitors in the area were using at least some of the tiger trail, with 73% of these interacting with at least one of the models. 160 visitor surveys were conducted which indicated that there was >20% increase in knowledge of Amur tigers through visiting the exhibit.

The approach to this project – tiger enclosure improvement, interpretation and conservation support – has proved popular and successful and provides a model for the holistic development of other exhibits in future. 

Developed by:  RZSS - Edinburgh Zoo


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