The Nashville Zoo is busy at work in implementing its “Grow Wild” campaign, which is a master plan for growth and expansion of the zoo to underdeveloped portions of the property. In a previous article, we discussed the details of Expedition Peru – The Trek of the Andean Bear, but this is only a portion of the first phase of the campaign.
In addition to Expedition Peru, in spring 2016, the Nashville Zoo will also be opening a newly-renovated and expanded tiger exhibit. The zoo’s old tigers, Mylee and Sareeka, will be sent to Tiger Haven in East Tennessee and replaced with critically-endangered Sumatran tigers, a new subspecies of tiger for the Nashville Zoo. Three young female Sumatran tigers are coming to Nashville from the Topeka Zoo, and the zoo hopes to eventually acquire a male so that they can participate in the Species Survival Program for Sumatran tigers, as there are only 400 Sumatran tigers left worldwide. The upgraded tiger exhibit will feature a bamboo bridge, a waterfall, new night quarters for the animals, and a second viewing area of the exhibit.
Another new species expected to arrive at the zoo in spring 2016 is the white rhino. Three male white rhinos are coming to the zoo from an animal reserve in Florida, and these males will form a bachelor group in the zoo’s former elephant exhibit. The three rhinos have been designated as strong breeding candidates by the AZA, so it is the Nashville Zoo’s hope that they will soon be able to initiate a breeding program for white rhinos at the zoo. The zoo is developing plans to renovate the elephant exhibit, and because the elephants have been moved to new locations, the rhinos will be able to live in their former exhibit space.
The new Veterinary Medical Center is also part of Phase 1 of the Grow Wild campaign. The new 26,000 square foot facility will serve as both an animal care and education facility. The zoo has plans to partner with local colleges and universities to implement teaching opportunities for students, and for other guests at the zoo, there will be observation windows into surgery and treatment procedure rooms as well as into the nursery.