In hot summer weather we visited the ZOO in Ostrava. We have heard the news that the second largest ZOO in the Czech Republic is taken care of by five ZETOR tractors. In addition, the visitors to the ZOO can have a ride through the garden on two trains which are powered by ZETOR engines and transmissions.
Covering over 100 ha, the ZOO in Ostrava is the second largest ZOO in the Czech Republic, the first being the ZOO park in Chomutov. The garden keeps over 4,000 animals which are taken care of by 50 keepers. Annually, the ZOO is visited by around 500,000 people, which is a proof of the significant position that the garden holds in the region. The ZOO is famous for keeping Indian elephants, rare species of lemurs and a number of other rare and endangered animals.
As the area of the garden is quite hilly, it is clear that maintaining it is not really easy, especially in winter. Over 10 ha of the area are taken by pastures which serve for mowing forage from spring to autumn. Part of the pastures is used for growing alfalfa. However, this area is not large enough, so it is necessary to mow meadows around the ZOO as well.
During our visit, we visited the part called “the Court” too. Usual visitors are not allowed in this area as it is a place for machinery which is used to maintain the whole premises and also to bring in animal feed or take out manure etc.
The core of the machines is made up of five ZETOR tractors. The new PROXIMA GP 100 has been in the ZOO since last year; the other ZETOR tractors are FORTERRA 90 from 2009, three older tractors – 7341 from 2001, the most used tractor 7245 from 1993, and the oldest 5211 from 1986. In addition to ZETOR tractors, there is also an Avia for transporting chewing bark, feed mixtures and straw and a number of machines with less power (small front loader, fork lift, articulated small tractors etc.) used for material manipulation, mowing or road maintenance.
Tomáš Dvořák, Technical Department Manager, gives reasons why they are satisfied with the machinery in the ZOO: “ZETOR tractors have low fuel consumption, easily available spare parts and affordable price. Another advantage is easy service – we are able to manage a lot of things ourselves and in case of more difficult repairs, our service partner is very cooperative and quick to react.”
The new PROXIMA PLUS with the power of 96 hp has been used in the ZOO since last year. The tractor is used for towing tractor container carrier “PORTÝR” with cargo capacity of 10 tonnes. The carrier is used for a container tank with the capacity of 7,000 litres and containers. The carrier has been adjusted in such a way to make it possible to easily discharge the tank and gain more space for containers, for example to transport manure. It is an original way to solve a problem by joining two pieces of equipment into one. PROXIMA covers up to 40 operation hours per month and nearly 500 operation hours per year.
The next tractor which they use is FORTERRA 90. “The tractor is used with a wood chipper which daily processes branches cleared out from pavilions with animals. The result is a fuel which is used to heat a greenhouse and technical buildings in the winter. It is also used as bedding substrate for animals,” says Josef Rypel, the “Court” Manager and a person who can tell you every single detail about every piece of machinery in the ZOO.
The 7341 tractor is the only in the premises with a front PTO; for this reason, it is used with front blade mower Poettinger with a width of over 2 meters and a collector of the same brand with the capacity of 13 m3. From spring to autumn, the tractor is used on local meadows to mow grass and alfalfa which is used as animal feed. In the winter, the tractor is used with a gritter with the capacity of 400 litres thus keeping road open for traffic and pedestrians. The tractor works for about 600 operation hours per year without any problems.
The most frequently used ZETOR tractor in the ZOO is the 7245. It is used with a front loader shovel or fork for hay and straw bales. In case of need, the rear three-point hitch can be used for adjusted containers to transport substrate, mixtures, chewing bark, branches, hay etc.
The ZOO also uses the 5211 tractor which is used as a tower. Using a one-axle trailer, it transports all animal feed, fruit and vegetables, meat and feed animals all over the ZOO. Another task of this tractor is collecting waste from the whole ZOO. It uses a specially adjusted carrier connected to the rear hitch to carry a plastic container with the capacity of 1,100 litres. The operators empty litter bins all over the ZOO into the container.
The ZOO has two trains which transport visitors through three large areas of the Ostrava safari. Thus, visitors have a ride right through the herds of African and Asian ungulates. The towers of these trains employ ZETOR engines and transmission from the PROXIMA model. During the opening hours, the machines are in constant use, the capacity of one train being 62 persons. The trains have been carrying visitors since spring 2017. Due to a hilly terrain, it is often necessary to use 4WD. There never have been any troubles with the trains.
Ostrava ZOO is a big institution, but the machines are treated and taken care of here like in a family farm. Every tractor has its own shelter with a roof and is regularly maintained and washed by the staff. “Our work starts before 6 am. All kinds of work which involve using machinery in the parts of the ZOO which are open to visitors must be finished till 9 am. At that time, the gates open to the visitors and it is not appropriate or safe to use the machines among people, children and baby strollers,” says Mr. Rypel, describing work organization.
Due to the fact that Ostrava ZOO is open for 365 days in a year and it is necessary to arrange for transports of feed and seasonal grass mowing also at weekends and on bank holidays, all operators of the machines must be able to control not only the machine they are responsible for but also all other tractors and their equipment.
Despite the fact that in the ZOO, ZETOR tractors do not have farming jobs in extreme terrain or weather, they can do a lot of work proving that they are reliable, universal a durable worker on every day of the year, regardless of the weather.
We are thankful for the nice visit and the possibility to see the “backstage” of the ZOO. It all makes people realize how much work, effort and technical support is needed to keep the visitors satisfied enjoying the nice and neat premises, paddocks and happy animals inside them. We wish to the ZOO good luck in breeding new species, even more visitors every year and easy and relaxed work with ZETOR tractors.