Photos and Updates
July 15, 2010: Gibbon Islands and Deepest Foundation
Use a little imagination and you can almost envision the gibbons leaping overhead on Denver Zoo’s upcoming Toyota Elephant Passage 10-acre animal care and conservation facility.
Toyota Elephant Passage will not open until the summer of 2012, but two of three Gibbon islands have been laid out on the construction site. Two of the mature trees (photo, above) that were removed for excavation which began last December have been replanted on the islands. Plus, the foundation for the boardwalk has been excavated and will begin to take shape in the next week.
The golden-cheeked gibbons will use their long, strong arms — more than 2½ times their body length — to traverse overhead on the three habitats at Toyota Elephant Passage. Their spectacular arm-swinging motion is called brachiation and gibbons are the lone brachiators among the ape family, spending most of their time swinging from tree to tree. Gibbons are found in central and southeast Asia in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam in the wild.
Here’s a look at other construction highlights on the Toyota Elephant Passage site:
- The deepest foundation on Toyota Elephant Passage — 20 feet (photo, above) — has been poured for the filtration building and the pump house, which will filter water for the entire facility. Walls also are being built for this part of the site. The filtration building is the heart of Toyota Elephant Passage, filtering 1.7 billion gallons of water a year. The filtration system is designed to recycle water for Toyota Elephant Passage and thus save the Zoo a projected 350 million gallons of water.
- Animal barrier posts are being installed within the rock work in Habitats A and F. Rock-work crews continue forming rock outcroppings on these two habitats. Pool F has been filled and has passed the waterproof tests. Plus, paint samples have been approved and artists are continuing to paint rock work in Habitat F.
- If you see scaffolding on the west corner of the Toyota Elephant Passage site, that’s where crews are creating the steel substructure (photo below) for the rock work at the west entrance.
- Work also continues to progress on the rhino-tapir building. The foundation is nearly complete and walls continue to go up on an almost daily basis.
Free Toyota Elephant Passage Construction Tower Tours
The tour allows Denver Zoo visitors to view the Toyota Elephant Passage construction site from its 36-foot tall tower. Volunteers will help explain progress, the importance of Toyota Elephant Passage, how we’re helping animals at the Zoo and how you can help this amazing initiative. Tours are based on a first-come, first-served basis. Space and time is limited for each tour. Tour dates are listed below:
- July 22: 10 a.m.-noon
- July 30: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
- August 2: Noon-2 p.m.
- August 4: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
- August 10: Noon-2 p.m.
- August 14: 1-3 p.m.
- August 21: 10 a.m.-noon