Construction has started on a Chihuahuan Desert exhibit at El Paso Zoo that will house Mexican gray wolves, mountain lions, jaguars and more.
The $14m project will replace the original Chihuahuan section that housed small animals including the Mexican giant tortoise and sandhill crane. Some of the smaller animals will be included in the new, 9,300sqm Chihuahuan Desert exhibit but it will be geared towards larger animals.
The new exhibit will include native habitats for the animal species as well as a rockwork structure for large cats. It will also feature botanical landscaping, overhead animal pathways and a public art instalment as well as a ranch house that will host insects and small animals while offering visitors views of the Mexican gray wolf habitat.
Funding for the exhibit comes from a $470m bond approved by city voters in 2012. The money was to be put towards renovations and enhancements to El Paso’s public facilities, including $50m for El Paso Zoo to complete its master plan.
The zoo has used the $50m bond on a range of projects including a new reptile building, a wild dog exhibit, a hog exhibit, an event pavilion and a flighted bird amphitheatre.
El Paso Zoo receives around 370, 000 visitors a year and is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Image: c. El Paso Zoo.