Supported by more than a century of experience caring for elephants, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is working toward opening a world-class elephant habitat and conservation center at the site of its 1950s-era Pachyderm Building. African Elephant Crossing will quadruple the amount of indoor and outdoor space dedicated to these majestic animals and provide them with stimulating surroundings similar to their native savanna. Expected to open in 2011, the state-of-the-art exhibit will serve as a model for other zoos nationwide and become the Zoo's largest capital project since The RainForest opened in 1992.
Spread over five acres of lightly wooded grasslands, African Elephant Crossing will feature two large yards for roaming, ponds for swimming, expanded sleeping quarters and a heated outdoor range. The naturalistic habitat will be capable of housing up to 10 elephants at a time, including at least one bull and eventually calves. African Elephant Crossing also will house meerkats, naked mole rats, African rock pythons and a spectacular collection of colorful birds.
Located near the Zoo's main entrance, African Elephant Crossing will offer exceptional viewing areas for Zoo visitors, including open-air viewing, a nose-to-trunk window, an elevated feeding station and a gated crossing where people can watch as the elephants pass by to migrate from one yard to the next.
At the heart of African Elephant Crossing, an education center will immerse visitors into a realistic African village setting and teach them about elephants and threats to their survival, including habitat loss, poaching and ivory trading.
Construction is set to start in Fall 2008 on African Elephant Crossing, with a grand opening expected in Spring 2011. The Zoo's three elephants -- Moshi, Jo and Martika -- are staying at the Columbus Zoo with two of their keepers from Cleveland during the construction. They're scheduled to return before the opening of African Elephant Crossing.
Cleveland Metroparks and the Cleveland Zoological Society, through its Capital Campaign, are funding African Elephant Crossing.
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