From the Desk of Dan Ashe

Looking Back: New Exhibits and Additions in 2019

Here's a look back at some of the major expansions, renovations, and animal additions this year, compiled by the AZA community and communications team.

- Visitors flocked to Denver Zoo’s new immersive grizzly bear exhibit Harmony Hill. Home to two rescued grizzly bears, the exhibit intends to teach guests about how to better coexist with bears—and all wildlife—in the wild and their own backyards. The exhibit theming includes an area modeled after a National Park, and other that reflects a neighborhood backyard, which puts visitors in the shoes of hikers, campers and homeowners. 

- The Houston Zoo was featured in a KPRC-2 documentary special about the zoo’s wildlife saving efforts in Texas in support of its new exhibit, Kathrine G. McGovern Texas Wetlands. Species covered included whooping cranes, bald eagles, American alligator, and Houston toads. Watch the special here.

- Rolling Hills Zoo opened a new gallery show in celebration of the zoo’s 20th anniversary, and welcomed guests to share their favorite memories of the Zoo. The display explored the transition of the land from prairie to zoological park and highlighted the iconic animals of Rolling Hills Zoo.

Image of Rolling Hills Gallery exhibit 
Photo Courtesy of Rolling Hills Zoo

- Aquarium of the Pacific opened the Pacific Visions wing, its first major expansion in twenty years. Pacific Vision uses the latest technology to celebrate humanity’s role in ocean and planetary health.

- Zoo de Granby welcomed 28-year-old African elephant Thandi into its herd. Thandi is recommended for breeding with Tutume, a 20-year old male. Since 2015, Granby Zoo, a non-profit organization founded in 1953, has been working with Campo Ma’an National Park in Southern Cameroon to protect elephants to solve conflicts between the large animals and the people who live in the area.

Image of Thandi the elephant at Granby Zoo 
Photo Courtesy of Zoo de Granby

- Zoo Boise unveiled its new Gorongosa National Park exhibit featuring 20 species hailing from the African park and animal sanctuary. The exhibit includes a warthog pen, an aviary, a connected African wild dog and hyena enclosure and the riveting EO Wilson Science and Exhibit Hall, which held baboons, otters, an enclosure for the Nile crocodile and vervet monkeys—all of it there to showcase the special relationship between Zoo Boise and Gorongosa with a special eye toward conservation.

- Zoo Atlanta opened its incredible African Savanna exhibit this summer. The habitat features the indoor Zambezi Elephant Center, and a brand-new habitat for zebras, ostriches, warthogs, and meerkats. Zoo Atlanta welcomed Msholo, an African elephant from San Diego Zoo Safari Park, into its elephant herd. Later plans for the zoo include Southern white rhinos, a brand new addition.

Image of African Savanna exhibit at Zoo Atlanta 
Photo Courtesy of Zoo Atlanta

- Brandywine Zoo assisted in the care of a two-foot long caiman after the reptile was rescued during a drug bust.  The caiman was housed at Brandywine zoo throughout the summer, serving as an education animal. The caiman was later moved to the Saint Augustine Alligator Farm, another AZA-accredited institution. What a great example of our members partnering with local government to help an animal in need.

- Oakland Zoo took in a 6-year-old fennec fox named Summer, after she was surrendered by an exotic pet owner. Under Oakland Zoo’s care, picky eater Summer has achieved a healthier weight for her species. While the zoo cares for her and works to find a suitable home, they are expanding education about the unknowns in the private ownership of wild animals to the general public and guests.

Image of fennec fox
Photo Courtesy of Oakland Zoo

Stay tuned for more memories from 2019!

Posted by Ashley Jones at 8:00 AM

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