International designer Jon Coe – 2007 letter to John Hamilton
John C Coe and Ray Mendez, 2005, The Unzoo Alternative
MSN, 2005, Encarta World English Dictionary Online.
The innovative concept of the Unzoo was born in 2005 when two innovative zoo design consultants, Jon Coe and Ray Mendez, began exploring the idea of moving zoos away from their traditional design as a series of enclosures displaying animals for human entertainment.
Their vision was for something altogether different – an experience that would immerse human visitors in a natural environment, with animals as the dominant feature.
An Unzoo would be a reversal of the traditional concept of a zoo.
Instead of animals in enclosures for the benefit of humans, an Unzoo would invite visitors into natural habitats in which cages or barriers are removed or concealed and wild, as well as resident animals, are encouraged to interact with the environment.
Animals have more dignity, freedom and self-determination, and human visitors experience personal, memorable encounters with wildlife and nature.
In 2007 Jon Coe, who had worked at more than 150 zoos around the world, came up with an “unzoo” master plan for the Hamilton family on Tasman Peninsula in South East Tasmania and the first intentional Unzoo project was under way.
Now Tasmanian Devil Unzoo is a global leader in shaping the future for the zoos of the world.