Zoo receives $4 million matching challenge for new exhibit

An anonymous donor has come forward with the largest matching challenge in the Woodland Park Zoo’s history – $4 million to build the new tiger and Asian bear exhibits.

Photograph by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

At today’s annual Thrive fundraiser, the zoo announced the matching challenge for the Asian Tropical Forest exhibit complex. The exhibit is the centerpiece of the zoo’s $80 million More Wonder More Wild comprehensive campaign. “With this recent gift announcement, the zoo has successfully raised $59 million—or 74% of its campaign goal—to date through the campaign’s private phase. The challenge gift provides critical momentum for the community phase of More Wonder More Wild,” the press release states.

“This tremendous challenge gift provides a catalyst for the community to join us at this crucial time for endangered wildlife,” said Dr. Deborah Jensen, Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO. “The Asian Tropical Forest exhibits will not only provide a new, naturalistic home for tigers and Asian bears at the zoo, but also will mobilize our visitors to join us and our field conservation partners to take action to save the wildlife and wild places of tropical Asia.”

Artist’s concept rendering by Scott Taylor

From the press release:

The Asian Tropical Forest initiative is expected to cost $21 million and will replace the 60-year-old infrastructure that critically endangered tigers and Asian bears currently inhabit at the zoo. Currently in conceptual design phase, the new exhibit complex will transform an outdated area of the zoo into a dynamic, naturalistic destination connecting more than 1 million zoo visitors each year to the diverse animals of tropical Asia and the work the zoo and its partners do to protect them.

Modeled on the theme “Sharing the Forest: People are the Conservation Solution,” Asian Tropical Forest will empower and inspire visitors with up-close animal encounters, hands-on learning and links to meaningful conservation actions visitors can take to build a better future for wildlife. Using sustainable design, the exhibits will provide tigers, Asian bears and other species representing the biodiversity of the region with a naturalistic, enriching environment that evokes the lush forests of tropical Asia and encourages natural behaviors such as stalking prey, foraging for food and caring for young.

Information on the More Wonder More Wild comprehensive campaign can be found here.

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8 thoughts to “Zoo receives $4 million matching challenge for new exhibit”

  1. It would be MUCH better to donate the money to reopen the awesome nocturnal exhibit. It is really a shame that good things that we already have are scrapped in favor of new things that are…..eh…new.

  2. Yeah, I hate ‘new’ too…..who needs ‘new’? We have plenty of ‘old’ to enjoy, we never need ‘new’. New means shinny! I hate shinny.

  3. Oh, goodie! Let’s build another super-expensive and spatially inadequate exhibit instead of contributing the money to real conservation efforts in the wild that might really give these creatures a chance to escape extinction. Great example, Deborah! You’re such a “conservationist”!

  4. Zoos are an archaie form of entertainment. Real conservation takes place in the wild – where wild animals belong – not in “made to make you feel better about suffering animals” displays.

  5. These $$$ would go much, much further in the wild. Why lock up miserable creatures in inadequate tiny urban spaces when this money could be spent toward real conservation, no entertainment. Is it entertaining to watch a suffering animal?

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