Originally published by the San Antonio Express-News
By Madalyn Mendoza
As part of ongoing improvements, the San Antonio Zoo is working toward their next project: expanding the jaguar exhibit to include a catwalk, which the park says is the only one of its kind in a U.S. zoo.
Plans for the expansion, estimated to cost $1 to $2 million, were announced at the 34th Annual Zoobilation Ball last week. The improved habitat will include an overhead catwalk that connects the current space to a nearby one, the release said.
“We are looking forward to bringing this one-of-a-kind experience to our guests,” Tim Morrow, the zoo’s executive director and CEO, said in the release. “We will be the only zoo in the country to offer this unique cat walk for our jaguars as it will reinforce two important natural behaviors – it lets them hang high in a canopy type setting and it allows them to explore the river’s edge.”
Jennifer Pue, marketing manager for the zoo, told mySA.com an official timeline for the additions have not been set as it depends on fundraising.
“The sooner we can raise the funds, the quicker we can start the construction,” she said. “It is meant to be a project that we can make progress on in 2017.”
Two of the jaguars who will benefit from the proposed expansion are a pair of cubs born in September as a part of a “survival plan,” which involved mating Arizona, the mother from Seattle’s Wooland Park Zoo, with a male named B’alam.
The project joins a list of recent improvements the zoo has tackled, including the new Big Cat Valley, which will allow visitors the chance to play tug-of-war with a lion in coming months. A nature-based pre-school has also been implemented on zoo grounds.
Pue said the private nonprofit raises money for the projects “all through fundraising.” Last year, Zoobilation earned the zoo more than $800,000, according to a release.
Morrow also noted ticket sales and memberships as sources for funds.
“As a non-profit organization, we couldn’t make major improvements like this without outside support,” he said in the release.
The original story can be found here.