Community leaders broke ground on the new Gorongosa National Park Exhibit at Zoo Boise Friday. The exhibit, which will expand the zoo’s footprint by 1.5 acres, will enhance Zoo Boise’s conservation efforts around the world, officials said.
Through donors and community support, Zoo Boise and the group Friends of Zoo Boise raised more than $8.9 million for the “Zoo with a New View” campaign to make the exhibit a reality.
“This is an exciting day for Zoo Boise and all of our supporters,” Zoo Boise Director Gene Peacock said at a groundbreaking ceremony Friday. “We are so grateful for the donations that have made this new exhibit possible. It will enhance our educational opportunities and conservation mission for generations to come.”
The new Gorongosa National Park Exhibit in Boise is expected to generate $2 million toward efforts in Mozambique to protect wild elephants, lions, zebras and other animals there.
Many new animals will be featured once construction is finished -- including Nile crocodiles, African wild dogs, otters, warthogs, baboons and vervet monkeys among others, Zoo officials announced.
In concert with Zoo Boise, the Boise City Department of Arts and History is overseeing the design of interactive animal masks to be featured in the new Gorongosa exhibit.
“We believe that Zoo Boise has a responsibility to be a leader in conservation funding throughout the world,” said Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway. “Zoo Boise continues to be a national leader in this effort, and this new exhibit is another example of how Zoo Boise is changing the definition of what it means to be a zoo.”
The new construction will also remove and update a number of exhibits at Zoo Boise that no longer meet modern zoological standards, including the Primate House and aviaries. New exhibits will be built for the gibbons and the Sarus crane, plus a new event area with a stage and covered seating will be added at the zoo.
“The Friends of Zoo Boise board is so thankful to all of the families, corporations and foundations who helped to make this project a reality, more than 1,000 donors in total,” said Alisha Palmer, Friends of Zoo Boise board president. “Without their support, this project wouldn’t be possible and we cannot wait to show them the finished product.”
Construction is expected to wrap up during the summer of 2019.
The zoo will remain open throughout construction.