Land of the Lions, London Zoo
Visitors can explore and learn about the life of a Forest Guard working in the Gir Forest. They spend their time tracking and monitoring the lions in the wild and carrying out essential conservation work. A simple audio exhibit was chosen for this area, in the form of a bespoke boombox radio which was wired with a Sound-Clip-2 in an IP box to provide audio.
In March last year London Zoo opened a brand new exhibit ‘Land of the Lions’. The exhibit transports visitors back to the Sasan Gir in India, where they can embark on an adventure to see the Asiatic Lions and the home that they inhabit. The lions are a critically endangered species with just over 500 left in the wild. The enclosure at London Zoo is filled with bright and bold exhibits, which include a train station, a guard hut, and a crumbling temple clearing.
We were contacted by London Zoo to help with audio visual interpretation in this new zone, having supplied them with U-Turn Rounds previously for their Tiger Territory enclosure. We supplied a number of different products, many of which were bespoke, to help bring the Sasan Gir to life within the zoo’s enclosure.
Land of the Lions
As part of the enclosure, a series of Tuk Tuks were brought in, which visitors could interact with through the use of a bespoke radio we installed. The Tuk Tuks are parked between the Temple Ruins & The Villager’s House with a small car stereo unit within that visitors can listen to and flick between audio tracks, as if they were tuning between different radio stations. The audio supplied included Bollywood music hits, a documentary radio programme about the Gir with interviews & a live cricket match. We also fitted a solar panel on top of each of the Tuk Tuks to power the stereos during the day.
Over in the Forests Guard Hut, visitors can explore and learn about the life of a Forest Guard working in the Gir Forest. They spend their time tracking and monitoring the lions in the wild and carrying out essential conservation work. A simple audio exhibit was chosen for this area, in the form of a bespoke boombox radio which was wired with a Sound-Clip-2 in an IP box to provide audio. The radio was modified by ourselves to be fully weather proof.
Another addition to the Forest Guard Hut is a walkie-talkie that periodically plays audio of lion incidents being reported to the forest guard team. The walkie-talkie was bolted down onto the table and is programmed for use with a Small PIR sensor so it activates when visitors walk into the hut.
As well as getting a look at the work of the Forest Guards, there is also an opportunity to see a villagers house within the Sasan Gir. It allows visitors to explore daily life in the village with a look at some personal belongings. In this area visitors can look at a villagers mobile phone and watch Indian TV on a very dated television. London Zoo wanted to be able to easily update content on the TV when necessary so our Video Clip HD-6 was chosen to power the bespoke unit. The mock-mobile phone utilises bespoke software which recreates a mobile phones interface but only allows the viewing of a gallery and pre-set text conversation. The photos give insight into the life of the villager, along with text messages detailing lion patrols and the daily schedule of the inhabitant.
Since the enclosure has opened ‘Land of the Lions’ has been a huge success with plenty of praise for how well it transports visitors to India with its design and interpretive techniques. The enclosure has been of huge importance for conservation of the Asiatic Lions and immerses visitors within the problems that the lions are currently facing.
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