April 1, 2002
Jaguar to get new digs at Woodland Park Zoo
by Lisa Allen
Valley View Editor
SEATTLE—Ground was officially broken recently for the Woodland Park Zoo's new, naturalistic jaguar habitat, which will be located in the Tropical Rain Forest exhibit. The project is part of the zoo's updated Long-Range Plan, which was originally adopted in 1976, and provides for the transfer of animals out of antiquated cages into enriched landscape exhibits. A similar project is the zoo's new African wild dog exhibit which will open this summer.
The zoo's 8-year-old male jaguar is currently in quarters that allow him to move around and climb, but are very limited. His new jungle-like domain, when finished next year, will give him more room and allow him to enjoy a much more realistic environment.
Jaguars are native to Central and South America, so habitat designers focused on creating a tropical setting. The exhibit will also include a nearby research tent that will represent the work station of a team of botanists, entomologists, cultural anthropologists or researchers learning about jaguars and their habitat. The contractor for the jaguar exhibit is Synergy Construction Inc. of Woodinville. Synergy Construction also built the zoo's food pavilion, for which it earned the Construction Excellence Award for 1995.
The $4.4 million project is being funded entirely from private donors, including the Kreielsheimer Foundation and D.V. and Ida McEachern Charitable Trust.
One of the individual donors, 9-year-old Dylan Clements of Seattle, was a special guest at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Dylan had "broken his piggy bank" to give $30 of his own money so the jaguar could have more room to roam, explained David Towne, Woodland Park Zoo Society's executive director.
"Dylan's money will help build this exhibit," Towne said. "It was the plight of the zoo's jaguar that got us to this point. We have received many letters from people concerned about the jaguar's current living quarters. This new 4,000-square-foot exhibit will help maintain the history of breakthrough exhibits that have helped Woodland Park Zoo receive national recognition."