Wednesday, 14 April 2010 09:58

Partner No. 4

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Partner No. 4
Kolmardens Wildlife park opened in 1965, and in spite of its location in the countryside, far from big cities, it was an immediate success. Kolmarden has evolved and expanded continuously: in 1969 the Dolphinarium was opened, in 1972-83 the Safari Park was built, and in 1993 the Dolphinarium was expanded with larger pools and a unique pinniped exhibit was built.

Until 1997 the park was owned by the Norrköping municipality, but today it is part of a business group called Parks and Resorts Scandinavia AB. Kolmården has ca 250 ha at its disposal in beautiful Kolmården forest habitat. The most characteristic feature of Kolmarden is its large, open-air animal exhibits, with no disturbing bars or fences, where many different species from similar eco systems are mixed. During recent years several exhibits have been thematized, in order to create surroundings and exhibits that better reflect the various species' home habitats. In 2011 the private cars and guided busses in the Safari Park will be replaced by a cable car, which in a fantastic way will reinforce the experience of the visitors – and also contribute to counteracting the global warming!

Kolmarden is closed from early October until first of May and this means that the summer season is hectic, with 500-600,000 people visiting the park. It is, however, not entirely closed during the winter season; the education department is running full speed. In addition to its activities, special pre-booked activities are offered, like Dolphin Close Encounter, Wolf Close Encounter, Tiger Tour and Guided Zoo tours.

The education department has 5 full-time zoo educators with degrees in Biology or Zoo keeper education. During the most active periods of the year, April-June and August-October, additional 4-12 seasonal zoo teachers are employed. The department offers many different programs, suited to all ages and levels, from pre-school to university. Many of the programs extend over several (2-7) days, which is made possible because the department can offer cheap lodging with hostel standard. In total 108 beds in multi-bed rooms are available.

Kolmarden also offers educational presentations with trained dolphins and seals and free-flying birds of prey and owls. These presentations are free of charge for all zoo visitors. They are very much appreciated and efficient educational tools to convey important messages about conservation of animal species and nature.

Kolmarden is dedicated to research and conservation. The zoo has two full-time veterinarians, and one part-time veterinary laboratory assistant. They carry out continuous clinical investigations of the 700 specimen animal collection. Several papers have been published in scientific journals and presented at international scientific conferences.

In addition Kolmarden has a full-time researcher, specialized in marine mammals and bio-acoustics. His research includes studies of dolphin reproduction biology, based on zoo dolphins, and the biology and conservation of wild harbor porpoises. Also state-of-the-art studies of dolphin sound production and hearing are carried out. He supervises several master student thesis project every year, which may focus on any mammalian species in the zoo or in the wild.

Appropriate parts of the research results are used in the educational programs.

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