CASE STUDY | Auckland Zoo Orangutan Habitat

Metal Concepts Limited are a metal design and fabrication company, specialising in bespoke products for the architectural and construction markets. Metal concepts offer expertise in the design and manufacture of perforated metals, Ombrae optical tiles, folded sheet metal, and fabricated metalwork.


Auckland Zoo engaged the services of Metal Concepts in the design and manufacture of the South East Asia Jungle Track’s high canopy primate habitat.

The orangutan habitat centres around a pair of forested habitats connected to a network of aerial pathways extending out across the wider zoo area. Towers placed about the zoo are connected via specially woven ropes, allowing the arboreal orangutans and siamangs to traverse above the heads of visitors.

Metal Concepts needed additional resource to supplement their busy design team in the development of the orangutan habitat.

  • Caliber engineers were engaged for the duration of the project, from initial concepts to installation.
  • Caliber provided concepting, detailed design, site measuring, drawing and worked closely with the manufacturing and installation teams to deliver the project.
  • Throughout the project, Caliber engineers engaged with architects and end users to refine design concepts to meet both functional and aesthetic requirements.
  • The scope of the project was broad, and included
    • Perforated containment walls and fencing
    • Tower tunnels, cladding and remote operated doors
    • Winch controlled feeders attached to the towers
    • Decorative ‘leaf pattern’ walls
    • Sliding training panels for keeper/animal training (that public can view)
    • Back-of-house containment mesh and supporting steelwork
    • Suspended raceways connecting the habitats to the back-of-house area
    • Hydraulic access doors
    • Pulley controlled access doors
    • Mesh protector panels
    • Heavy duty manual access doors
    • Wheeled crates for animal transport, training, and healthcare

Caliber staff provided engineering services from concepting to installation, giving a valuable resource boost to an already busy design team, and allowing Metal Concepts to continue making progress across a range of active projects.

Caliber is proud to have made a significant contribution to the design and delivery of the high canopy habitat for orangutans and siamangs, of which Auckland Zoo’s three orangutans; Charlie, Melur and Wanita, and siamang pair Intan and Kera, have now made their home. It is a world class habitat that is part of the zoo’s biggest redevelopment in its almost 98 years of operation.

In my opinion it’s the best orangutan habitat in a zoo, anywhere in the world.

Amy Robbins

Team Leader, Primates, Auckland Zoo

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