News / Arts & Entertainment

Zoo Carousel Combines Conservation with Fun

The animals depicted on the Smithsonian National Zoo's Conservation Carousel in Washington, D.C., include many endangered species. (VOA/J. Taboh)
The animals depicted on the Smithsonian National Zoo's Conservation Carousel in Washington, D.C., include many endangered species. (VOA/J. Taboh)
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C., is known for its giant pandas and other exotic animals.

But a different kind of animal-themed attraction has captivated visitors since opening this past November.
 
Sunny-side up

At first glance, the zoo's Speedwell Foundation Conservation Carousel looks like any ordinary merry-go-round.

But this latest draw at the popular zoological park is special in two ways.

First, it's solar powered; one of only two carousels in the world which run on sunlight.

Chuck Fillah, the zoo’s associate director of planning, says the idea of solar power came about because the zoo wanted to send a message about conservation.

Solar panels on the roof power the National Zoo's Conservation Carousel, one of only two worldwide which runs on sunlight. (VOA/J. Taboh)Solar panels on the roof power the National Zoo's Conservation Carousel, one of only two worldwide which runs on sunlight. (VOA/J. Taboh)
x
Solar panels on the roof power the National Zoo's Conservation Carousel, one of only two worldwide which runs on sunlight. (VOA/J. Taboh)
Solar panels on the roof power the National Zoo's Conservation Carousel, one of only two worldwide which runs on sunlight. (VOA/J. Taboh)
​The entire south part of the carousel’s rooftop is covered with 162 solar panels.

“Each one generates so many watts of electricity,” says Fillah, “and the power that’s generated during the day by the sun runs the carousel.”

Excess energy captured by the solar panels is routed to the zoo’s grid to power lights for the buildings and animal exhibits.  

The carousel’s ability to run on the sun’s rays impresses young visitors like 10-year-old Devin.

“I think it’s great that it’s solar-powered because it shows that you don’t need all this technology and man-made energy to have a fun ride,” Devin says.

Animal menagerie

The carousel's other special feature is the 56 hand-carved and painted figures representing creatures from all over the world.

About 40 animals depicted on the carousal live in exhibits at the zoo or at its research facility in nearby Virginia.

Sun Powers Zoo's Conservation Carouseli
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
February 01, 2013 2:45 PM
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington DC is known for its giant pandas and other exotic animals. But a different kind of animal-themed attraction has captivated visitors since it opened this past November. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.


They include many endangered species such as the giant panda, Komodo dragon and the ever popular cheetah.

The African lion, endangered Sumatran Tiger and Western lowland gorilla are also popular, on and off the carousel.

Chuck Fillah says the idea behind the carousel was to raise awareness about the plight of endangered animals and their disappearing habitats.

“We put the animals together in four different habitats,” he says, “because animals and habitats are two things that really need to be thought about in conservation. So we have animals grouped in grasslands, oceans, desert and forest.”

There are also two custom-designed handicap-accessible chariots.

The zoo's conservation message seems to resonate with visitor Abdelrhman Elabbasi, 11.  

“A lot of these animals are endangered and they might become extinct,” he says, “but what they’re doing right now is helping them not become extinct.”

The Murchake sisters from nearby Virginia, agree.

“I think that’s really cool because it brings awareness to the animals,” says Fiona, who is 12. “And we get to see what animals are endangered and maybe we can look in a little deeper and see how we can help those animals.”

Fillah says children learning about the zoo while enjoying themselves is what their conservation message is all about.

“Our hope for the carousel at Smithsonian's National Zoo is to have people have fun and learn about animals and their habitats,” he says. “To make a connection about nature, and to go away maybe thinking about something they learned here.”

He says he’s been contacted by a number of zoos interested in creating conservation carousels of their own.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”