Photos and Updates
April 7, 2011: More Projects on Toyota Elephant Passage Site Close to Completion
Toyota Elephant Passage construction is going so fast, it’s difficult to keep track of the work on the $50 million Denver Zoo exhibit slated to open in 2012.
The clouded leopard building is expected to be the first finished. Workers will be installing skylights next week, the final piece of construction. Clouded leopards will be a new species to Denver Zoo. There are no reliable numbers for clouded leopards in the wild, but they are listed as a vulnerable species. They already are extinct in Taiwan, but still can be found in several southeastern Asian countries. The corrugated metal roof on the clouded leopard view structure is scheduled to be installed this week.
Another interesting Toyota Elephant Passage feature completed are the gibbon vines that hang throughout the exhibit. Gibbons will traverse over three gibbon islands and a pedestrian boardwalk on man-made vines, all within Chang Pa Wildlife Preserve, one of three themed habitats at Toyota Elephant Passage. The other habitats are the Schoelzel Family Village and the Village Outpost. Gibbons, like the clouded leopard, are arboreal (tree dwellers) and will spend most of their time swinging through the trees on Toyota Elephant Passage.
The cedar siding has been installed, completing the exterior walls for the El Pomar Asian Pavilion, leaving only the roof to be mounted. Flying fox, Asian small-clawed otters and fishing cats will reside in the Asian Pavilion as part of the Schoelzel Family Village, which will serve as the hub for Toyota Elephant Passage. All three of these animals will be new zoo species. Fishing cats are one of the few cat family members that love water and are actually powerful swimmers. Flying foxes, or bats, are frugivores, meaning their diets mainly consist of fruits. Asian small-clawed otters are the smallest of the 13 otter species.
The new entry tower, which will serve as the west entrance to Toyota Elephant Passage, also has been installed. Smaller than the previous temporary construction viewing tower, the entry tower will be used to provide enrichment to some of the exhibit animals during demonstrations when Toyota Elephant Passage opens. Tower tours are expected to be available to donors and selected guests this summer.
See the latest construction update.