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Little Rock Zoo planning $1.3m expansion

Colobus monkey exhibit at Little Rock Zoo

Little Rock Zoo in Arkansas is planning a $1.3m expansion that will add new colobus monkey and serval cat exhibits.

Little Rock Zoo logoThe colobus monkey habitat will include climbing structures for the animals as well as a pathway overhead that will allow them to cross above the visitor walkway. Little Rock Zoo plans to place the serval cat habitat across from its big cat area.

“Guests will be able to look up at the monkeys looking down below and see them as they cross back and forth between the two areas,” Zoo Director Susan Altrui told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “This type of exhibit design is exciting for both the animals and the guests.”

Construction is expected to start by June and complete by next spring. Little Rock Zoo is funding the project through a 2011 sales tax for citywide capital improvements. The work is pending approval from the Little Rock Board of Directors, which is expected to vote this week.

Colobus monkeys are small animals with four fingers and no thumbs native to central Africa. The zoo has four, which were placed there last year as part of the Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The monkeys are expected to be recommended for breeding soon after the new exhibit opens.

Meanwhile, servals are small cats with a leopard-type print and a lifespan of up to 19 years. Little Rock Zoo has two serval cats, a male and a female, that it hopes to breed once the habitat is ready.

“The cats will enjoy a larger yard as well as a well-equipped back holding area for evening rest and meals. The current serval exhibit is located at the zoo’s small carnivore area and while this area meets standards for maintaining the cats it does not reflect modern zoological design. The zoo is in the process of improving habitats for its small carnivores and this is one of the first steps in that renovations,” Altrui said.

Images: c. Little Rock Zoo.

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