Cincinnati Zoo has started building the Elephant Trek habitat, the biggest construction project in the zoo’s history and part of the $150m ‘More Home to Roam’ expansion that launched in 2018.
“Elephant Trek is the result of a big vision that represents our zoo’s role as a champion of Asian elephant conservation, both here in the U.S. and in the places these animals live around the world,” said Francie Hiltz, chair of the zoo’s board of trustees.
“By creating a bigger space for a bigger herd of elephants to thrive, we are making a big commitment to Asian elephant breeding and conservation that will demonstrate to our visitors the power and beauty of co-existence for animals and humans.”
Cincinnati Zoo’s biggest construction project
Elephant Trek will feature stormwater tanks that hold 1 million gallons of water, helping the zoo to reduce expenses and become net zero by 2025. Cincinnati Zoo also plans to convert elephant poo into a soil supplement.
Elephant Trek will be five times the size of the zoo’s current elephant habitat. It is due to open in 2024 and will be home to a herd of between 8 and 10 Asian elephants.
“Big donations have made Elephant Trek possible,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard.
“Harry and Linda Fath kicked off the campaign in 2018 with a $50 million matching gift, and a recent gift from the Farmer Family Foundation will fund a multi-purpose elephant barn in the new habitat,” Maynard added.
$150m ‘More Home to Roam’ campaign
In the UK, the Daily Mail reports that keeping elephants in zoos or safari parks is set to be banned following claims that the animals suffer from mental illness in captivity. Legislation will prohibit importation of any new elephants.
“It isn’t appropriate to keep elephants in zoos,” said Lorraine Platt, chairman of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation. “They need to have large spaces in which to roam and also they have close knit family groups as well.”
Images: Cincinnati Zoo