This field has become increasingly specialized in the re-creation and maintenance of highly realistic natural habitats for immersion displays. The damage that can be done by animals in naturalistic displays and by visitors in hands-on educational areas can be tremendous and requires special skills on the part of the horticultural staff.
A related specialty is the knowledge of both potentially toxic and nutritious browse plants for zoo animals. Demonstration and ethnic gardens also add educational opportunities and the level of cultural resonance.
Some zoos have Curators of Horticulture, placing the plant collection and horticultural operations on par with animal curators and husbandry operations. The involvement of horticultural staff is important in the flow of design ideas.
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