At the beginning of March, Zoo Boise announced that it was embarking on a capital campaign, known as “Zoo with a New View,” that will lead to the expansion of the zoo by 1 acre, the debut of a new 2.5-acre Gorongosa National Park exhibit, and the transformation of older zoo areas into a revitalized entry area with new South American exhibits.
In recent years, Zoo Boise has been focusing on developing new ways for its guests’ visits to have more direct impacts on wildlife conservation. So far, the zoo has done so through adding a conservation fee to its admission prices and creating upcharge animal interactions with giraffes and sloth bears. Over the past several years, through these measures, the zoo has raised $1.8 million for its conservation fund.
The Gorongosa National Park expansion is the next evolution of the zoo’s conservation-focused initiatives. This national park in Mozambique has been devastated by years of war, and has left many animal populations and local people struggling to survive. As a part of the zoo’s expansion with this new exhibit, over the course of the next 10 years, $2 million will be donated to help Gorongosa National Park’s animals and people recover and rebuild.
At Zoo Boise, the Gorongosa National Park expansion will be home to a number of species which can naturally be found in the park, such as African wild dogs, spotted hyenas, otters, vervet monkeys, baboons, cheetahs, warthogs, nyala, and more. Education about the conservation initiatives that are part of the zoo’s Gorongosa National Park partnership will be interspersed throughout the exhibits.
In addition to information about species preservation and protection, the exhibit will teach guests about medical and agricultural programs being put in place to help improve the lives of people living around the national park.
The $8.9-million capital campaign is not only being used to fund the construction of the Gorongosa National Park exhibit, as guests will also be able to explore a reimagined and upgraded zoo entry plaza. The zoo’s current aviaries and primate house will be replaced with new South American and primate exhibits that meet industry standards, and the entry plaza will also include a new stage, event space, and dining areas.
Construction on the exhibit and new entry spaces will begin in early 2017 upon the completion of fundraising, and the zoo expansion and upgrades are expected to be complete in 2018.