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New Elephant Exhibit Opens at Zoo

Above: An elephant enjoys the sun at the Elephant Odyssey exhibit at the San Diego Zoo.

Audio

Aired 5/25/09

Crowds turned out over the weekend for the opening of the San Diego Zoo’s new elephant exhibit. KPBS reporter Katie Orr was there and spoke with some visitors.

— Crowds turned out over the weekend for the opening of the San Diego Zoo’s new elephant exhibit. KPBS reporter Katie Orr was there and spoke with some visitors.

Just an hour after it opened people were already lining the fences of the Elephant Odyssey exhibit watching the massive animals explore their new home. The exhibit cover 7 ½ acres and contains more than 35 different kinds of animals. But the stars are the pachyderms. They can wander up and down rolling hills or take a dip in a pool. Zoo visitor Kathy Anderson says the new exhibit is much better than the elephants’ old enclosure.

“I think it’s wonderful. I think it was worth waiting 20 months for, it was 20 months I think. And I think the gestation of an elephant is 22 month, I think. So it was worth the wait,” she says.

The exhibit also features an elephant care center where visitors can watch keepers take care of the animals. The Zoo’s Rick Schwartz says helping people feel connected to the animals is an important feature of Elephant Odyssey.

“We have seen survey and conducted surveys ourselves that say when people have an opportunity to get up close and personal with an animal they’re more apt to go home and do something different,” he says. “And that’s really our goal. Not only do we want to educate people and let them have a lot of fun while they’re learning. But we’d like to see people become more involved with conservation.”

Schwartz says this exhibit is unique and says he hopes other zoos follow San Diego’s example.

Katie Orr, KPBS News

Comments

Avatar for user 'Americas_Best_Zoos_author'

Americas_Best_Zoos_author | May 29, 2009 at 2:34 p.m. ― 5 years, 1 month ago

I got an early look at this new exhibit, and it really looked very exciting! The San Diego Zoo is the "gold standard" in the zoo world, so it's not surprising that they would create another groundbreaking exhibit.

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