Philanthropist Greg Carr helps Zoo Boise expansion

Posted at 12:51 PM, May 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-16 14:51:18-04

Zoo Boise today celebrated its successful $8.9 million “Zoo with a New View” capital campaign by thanking community members for their generosity -- and updating the public on the Zoo’s worldwide conservation efforts.

With the funding from the capital campaign, Zoo Boise will build a new exhibit highlighting its work to restore wildlife in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park -- which saw decimation to its wildlife after 25 years of civil war in the region.

Philanthropist Greg Carr, who is leading the Gorongosa wildlife restoration project, joined Mayor David Bieter in Boise for the celebration -- and to thank Zoo Boise patrons for their contribution to global conservation. A portion of Zoo Boise’s entrance fee goes to wildlife conservation efforts around the globe, including Gorongosa.

Carr says conservation funds generated by Idahoans are already making a difference at the Mozambican national park.

“Our aerial surveys show that the number of large animals has increased about ten-fold in the last ten years,” said Carr.  “Meanwhile, our agriculture, medical and education programs help more than 100,000 people who live near the Park. These traditional communities and Gorongosa National Park share the greater ecosystem.  We see it holistically. If the Park helps the people, then they'll be motivated to support Park objectives. It creates a positive feedback loop. The support that comes from people visiting Zoo Boise has helped us make significant progress in the restoration of one of Africa’s greatest treasures and one of the most biologically-diverse parks on earth.”

Capital campaign funds will help enhance Zoo Boise’s offerings and further its conservation mission.

“Every time someone visits Zoo Boise, they are directly contributing to the protection of animals in the wild,” Mayor Bieter said. “Thanks to all our Zoo visitors, the number of animals in Gorongosa is going up. In addition, visits to Zoo Boise are also helping with the community programs that help the people who live around the park, who are critical to the success of Gorongosa. We have turned the act of visiting Zoo Boise into a conservation action.”

Officials say the Gorongosa National Park exhibit at Zoo Boise will feature a variety of animals including African wild dogs, hyenas, nyala, baboons, Nile crocodiles, crowned cranes, white-backed vultures and vervet monkeys.

The exhibit will be 2.5 acres in size and will expand the Zoo’s footprint by 1.5 acres. 

Construction is set to begin in next March; the exhibit is expected to open in the summer of 2019.  In addition to the Gorongosa exhibit, the “Zoo with a New View” campaign will also remove the Zoo’s current primate house and aviaries, which no longer meet modern zoological practices. 

“Zoo Boise now serves as a way for people who love animals to help protect them in the wild,” said Zoo Boise Director Steve Burns. “We have changed the reason why we have a zoo and we are excited for the future.”