A crocodile, a baboon, an African wild dog, a saddle-billed stork, an African otter and a warthog.
That’s just a sampling of the animals that will inhabit a new Gorongosa National Park exhibit at Zoo Boise. The exhibit will expand the size of the zoo by one acre on its eastern edge and will create additional exhibits inside the current zoo.
Zoo Boise kicked off the public portion of “Zoo With A New View,” its capital campaign to build the new exhibit, on Tuesday morning. The campaign has already raised $7.1 million of its $8.9 million goal, leaving $1.8 million to raise before April 2017.
Zoo Boise has a longstanding partnership with Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. Working with Idaho philanthropist Greg Carr, the zoo has helped rebuild the park and restore animal populations devastated by 25 years of civil war.
“Zoo With A New View” and the future Gorongosa exhibit will help Zoo Boise build on its commitment to conservation, said officials. Eight years ago, the zoo created a conservation fund using a portion of admission fees. The program was the first of its kind in the U.S. It has raised nearly $2 million for conservation efforts around the world, including Gorongosa.
Zoo Director Steve Burns said he and zoo staffers see the zoo’s exhibits as “vehicles” to promote awareness of the natural world.
“We turned the act of visiting the zoo into an act of conservation,” Burns said Tuesday.
The new exhibition will feature animals that live at Gorongosa. It also will include information about agricultural, medical and education programs that support people who live and work near the park. The building and expansion project will include removing the zoo’s obsolete primate house and bird aviaries and relocating the animals that live there to other areas at the zoo.