Dallas Zoo’s New Exhibit

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Sam H. '17, Reporter

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The Dallas Zoo is creating a new exhibit for hippopotamuses named the Simmons Hippo Outpost, which will cost a total of $13.6 million. According to the zoo the exhibit will be “an immersive African waterhole habitat that includes a giant underwater viewing area.”

According to the Dallas Zoo, the habitat will open in spring 2017 and it will be the first time in 16 years for the Zoo to be home to the Nile hippopotamuses. There will be a massive 24-foot by 8-foot pane of glass that will allow the guests to see hippos underwater, in addition to a pedestal for the zookeepers to speak. Specifically, the zookeepers will talk about the conservation efforts of the zoo and how the zoo is attempting to conserve the world’s third largest land mammal.

The Zoo will be shipping in one male and one female hippo to fill the habitat; Adhama is a 6-year-old male from the Los Angeles Zoo and Biopelo is a 10-year-old female from the Albuquerque Biological Park. According to the Zoo, these hippos are paired in hopes that they will breed a new family in their new home. The Zoo is building multiple viewing platforms from up above the exhibit and from opposite sides of the exhibit and guests will also be able to see the exhibit from the monorail that encircles the Giants of the Safari habitats. The monorail is named Wilds of African Adventure Safari and provides a bird eye’s view of five African habitats that are not accessible by any trails in the park.

Gregg Hudson, the Zoo’s president and CEO, said, “The Simmons Hippo Outpost is a perfect bookend to Giants of the Savanna. It’s been 16 years since we had hippos and our guests have consistently asked us to bring them back. We’re thrilled to be able to do so, after working on this project for several years.”

This phenomenal exhibit was able to amass the funds needed to finish the project thanks to Mary McDermott Cook, their honorary chair of the campaign. The habitat was completely funded by private donations.

The Harold Simmons Foundation, which seeks to improve the quality of life of all members of the community according to their website, launched the campaign by donating $5 million in funds. Lisa Simmons, president of the Harold Simmons Foundation, commented on their donation by saying, “Everyone loves hippos, and we’re proud to be a part of their return to the Dallas Zoo. We are eager to see an outstanding new exhibit at the Zoo that will enhance the visitor’s experience and understanding of the importance of conservation of wild species and their habitats.”

The Harold Simmons Foundation was not the only one to donate a generous amount of money; The Highland Capital Management LP donated $1 million and the Zoo stated that their donation will be used to build the 4,485-square-foot Highland Capital Lode for special educational displays and private events. Diane and Hal Brierley donated $1 million as well and the Zoo stated that this money will be used to build the Hippo Encounter underwater viewing area. The Eugene McDermott Foundation, habitual supporters of the Dallas Zoo, donated $500,000 in funds.

Even Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is excited about these generous donations. He said, “The support from generous philanthropists is key to the successful public-private partnership between the City and the Zoo. This impressive Exhibit is sure to bring even bigger things—and I don’t mean just our new 4,000 pound residents.”

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