The Alexandria Zoological Park will open its newest exhibit–The Land of the Jaguar–Saturday, September 28th during a grand opening event at the zoo. The Grand Opening event will take place from 9:00am to 5:00pm. In addition to the opening of the new exhibit area, the event will feature cultural food, dance, and ceremonial performances by Mayan artists. Regular zoo admission will apply. Admission and train tickets will be available at the Zoo office for pre-sale. Friends of the Alexandria Zoo (FOTAZ) members will receive free admission.
The Land of the Jaguar, a renovation of the South American area, is the largest project the zoo has undertaken since the Louisiana Habitat exhibit. The area encompasses approximately three acres, and includes the oldest section of the zoo, which has not been renovated since the 1970s. Over the Zoo’s 87-year history, this is only the second time this area has been renovated.
The exhibit will immerse visitors in a unique environment created with giant rocks, rivers, waterfalls, lush vegetation and South American structures as they journey through the Mayan ruins of Central America, the Amazon rainforests, and end at the edge of the Andes Mountains. One of the highlights of the new exhibit area is the new grand entry. The new entrance resembles the Mayan ruins of Central America and includes the night house for squirrel monkeys.
The purpose of the new exhibit is to create awareness of the plight of species indigenous to South and Central America, as well as their habitats. Land of the Jaguar will entice visitors to explore and experience life on a different continent.
Two new inhabitants for the new Land of the Jaguar exhibit have arrived at the Alexandria Zoological Park! The two new jaguars have been kept in quarantine at the Alexandria
Zoo to allow them adjustment time to their new environment and zookeepers. Bebu, the young male, was born in the wild in Panama October 2011. Before coming to the Alexandria Zoo, Bebu was sent to the Parque Municipal Summit Zoo in Panama City after his mother was killed. The young female, Maderas, was born at the San Diego Zoo on April 26, 2012. She was named for a volcano in Nicaragua due to her fiery personality.
The Alexandria Zoo’s general curator was in charge of the coordinated effort and traveled to Panama to acquire Bebu and bring him home. The Alexandria zoo received help from the Living Desert Museum and the Sedgwick County Zoo to import both jaguars from Panama.
“Having a breeding facility for jaguars at the Alexandria Zoo has been a long time goal,” said Alexandria Zoo Director LeeAnn Whitt.
Land of the Jaguar is funded through a SPARC grant, with additional funding from the City of Alexandria, Friends of the Alexandria Zoo, and private/corporate donors. Donors include the Roy O. Martin Foundation, Bindursky Family, Doug Young Nursery, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Flores, Forest Hill Nurseries, Mrs. Caroline G. Theus, and Murphy Oil Company.
The Alexandria Zoological Park was established in 1926 at Bringhurst Park near its present location. The zoo began as a tiny linear menagerie of cages constructed of chain link fabric and iron bars with gravel, dirt or concrete floors. Over the years, Alexandria Zoo has transformed into an award-winning facility and a recognized participant in the worldwide conservation efforts for endangered species. The zoo was first accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in 1986 and continues to meet the ever-rising standards set by the organization.
For more information about the Alexandria Zoo, call (318) 441-6810 or visit online at www.thealexandriazoo.com. Follow the Zoo on Facebook.com/TheAlexandriaZoo to see updates on the exhibit renovations and learn more about the Zoo’s events and animals.