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Indianapolis Zoo Announces Campaign for Conservation and Community


The Indianapolis Zoo has announced its Campaign for Conservation and Community: Saving the Orangutans, which will fund several significant new exhibits, highlighted by the all new International Orangutan Center, a global center for orangutan awareness. 

The $30 million goal of the campaign will include the cost of this groundbreaking exhibit and provide a state of the art home to some of the world’s most endangered primates

While further solidifying the Indianapolis Zoo’s position as one the world’s leaders in animal conservation, the educational and research components of the International Orangutan Center will spur interest in saving this species from extinction, and it will impact the economic life of the community as millions of people, both local and tourists, visit what is being proclaimed as the world’s best zoo exhibit.  Complete information is available on the new web site,

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Indianapolis Zoo President and CEO Michael Crowther and a group of special friends of the Zoo gathered at the IMAX Theater in the Indiana State Museum in White River State Park on December 6 for a presentation on the campaign and the conservation work it will help sustain.  Joining him for the announcement was Tim Solso, CEO and chairman of the board of Cummins Inc. and also Chairman of the Campaign for Conservation and Community, along with the Zoo’s Board of Trustees Chairman Alan Cohen, members of the Campaign Cabinet, and major donors to the Campaign.  Gerry Dick of Inside Indiana Business spoke about the economic impact of the new exhibit on the Central Indiana community and its growing importance on a global scale.

In his remarks, Crowther said, “We are presented with a rare opportunity. This is a moment when we can choose to improve and enhance our community, our city and our world. It’s a moment to improve our present and our future, for this and future generations, and to leave a lasting, meaningful, internationally recognized mark. Imagine the eyes of the  world on our city.”

Cohen added, “The Indianapolis Zoo has become a world leader in wildlife conservation, with  leadership roles in places as far-flung as the Arctic, Africa, and Asia.  And every two years, the world focuses on us, as we present the Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading award for animal conservation. We are also certainly a recreational resource, an economic engine, and an educational institution.  A visit to the Zoo will always be fun, and finding new ways to be more fun than ever while taking everyone on a great adventure is always our happiest challenge. The centerpiece of this campaign takes the fun of a Zoo visit, as well as our personal action and impact, to a whole new level.”  

In Solso’s words, “We have a challenge and an opportunity.  The challenge is that many of the world’s wild things and wild places will not be around for our grandchildren to experience.  At their present rate of decline, orangutans will become extinct during my grandchildren’s lifetime. We do not intend to let that happen.  Our opportunity is the creation of a global center for orangutan conservation at the Indianapolis Zoo.  Building on the model of the Indianapolis Prize, the International Orangutan Center will engage people, enlighten them, and empower them to save this wondrous species from disappearing from our world forever.”

Mr. Solso also announced the lead gifts for the campaign from:

Anonymous Donors /  Myrta J. Pulliam / Cummins Foundation /  Heritage Group / Alan and Linda Cohen Family Foundation / The Solso Family / Lilly Endowment /  Ruth Lilly Philanthropic Foundation / R.B. Annis Educational Foundation /  Margot Lacy Eccles / Suzanne & Fred Fehsenfeld, Jr.  / Deborah J. Simon

In addition to the spectacular International Orangutan Center, this Campaign is funding projects and programming that reinforce the Indianapolis Zoo’s position as a world class institution, including:  Tiger Forest presented by Citizens Energy Group, which opened this year; a renovated front entrance plaza and admissions area opening spring 2012; the all-new Encounters area, featuring Flights of Fancy: A Brilliance of Birds presented  by Citizens Energy Group, which will open Memorial Day Weekend 2012; a new African lion habitat; and, new professionally produced shows and presentations.
Complete information on the Campaign for Conservation and Community: Saving the Orangutans is available at:

About the Indianapolis Zoo

Located in White River State Park downtown, the Indianapolis Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Association of Museums as a zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. The Indianapolis Zoo empowers people and communities, both locally and globally, to advance animal conservation.

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