I’m so excited about this one that I have typed and retyped a dozen starts to this blog post and think the best approach is just to shout it out:
NEW TIGER AND ASIAN BEAR EXHIBITS…COMING SOON!
This morning at our annual Thrive fundraiser a tremendous gift came to the zoo from an anonymous donor—a $4 million challenge gift toward building a new tiger and Asian bear exhibit complex and completing the zoo’s More Wonder More Wild comprehensive fundraising campaign! This is the largest challenge gift in zoo history and we’re so excited for the momentum it gives us as we launch the news to you all about this new exhibit complex we plan to build. And check out who else is on board...
We’re still in the earliest stage of conceptual design for the exhibits (the drawing up above is one artist’s concept rendering). We’re putting together plans to replace the 60-year-old infrastructure that tigers and Asian bears inhabit now. We’ll be transforming this outdated part of the zoo and giving these animals an enriching, naturalistic home that encourages natural behaviors such as foraging, stalking prey, even caring for young.
The new exhibits will help us tell the story of the critical conservation issues facing the endangered wildlife of tropical Asia—from habitat degradation to human-wildlife conflict. The exhibits will be a catalyst for visitors to get involved and join us and our partners around the world to build a better future for wildlife.
Right now, we’re targeting a 2013 opening for the first phase of the exhibit complex. We’re looking to raise $21 million for this tiger and Asian bear exhibit complex, which we're calling the Asian Tropical Forest. The Asian Tropical Forest is actually the centerpiece of our $80 million comprehensive campaign, More Wonder More Wild. We’ve already raised 74% of our fundraising goal for More Wonder More Wild over the past few years during the campaign’s quiet phase. Today marks the day we launched the community phase of the campaign to raise the last 26%. To be successful, we’ll need the support of our whole community, and right now we’re hard at work crafting fun ways we’ll reach out to engage you all in this tremendous effort over the next two years.
There’s going to be lots more news to come—ways to get involved with the campaign, details on exhibit design plans, and progress with the other initiatives funded by this campaign including animal care, visitor experiences, field conservation, education and more. A good place to start for more info on the campaign and ways to get involved is http://www.morewonder.org/. And stay tuned to this blog for more updates as exhibit plans unfold.
Images (from top): Tiger by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo, Artist’s concept rendering by Scott Taylor, Sloth bear by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo, Tiger by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.
Video produced by Ryan Hawk and Phil O'Sullivan/Woodland Park Zoo.