March 29, 2022
Denver Zoo to Build New Australia-Themed Habitat
“Down Under” Is Scheduled to Open Summer 2023
We announced plans today for “Down Under,” an Australian- and New Zealand-themed experience that will allow you to get up-close with many of the region’s diverse—and often extreme—species. At its core will be a walk-through wallaby area where you’ll be immersed in the animals’ habitat, and the Zoo’s first “conservation station,” which will allow you to put into practice conservation learnings and actions. It will also feature new and improved habitats for some of our current residents, including cassowaries and kea, and space for educational programming and small events.
“The closure of Bird World in 2019 presented us with an incredible opportunity to create better habitats for our animals and experiences for our guests,” said Bert Vescolani, President and CEO of Denver Zoo. “’Down Under’ will give us the unique opportunity to tell a story about a region that shares a lot of climatic and environmental similarities with Colorado, and inspire wildlife-friendly behavior changes in our community.”
Encompassing the former Bird World site and surrounding areas on the south side of the Zoo, “Down Under” will connect you to the region’s wildlife and ecosystems through awe-inspiring design and engagement opportunities to spark conservation action. It will cover almost 2 acres of the Zoo’s campus with landscaping that mimics the region’s ecosystems, and prioritize outdoor spaces that are resilient and adaptable to Denver’s varying climate. We’re also building relationships with colleagues and indigenous collaborators from these regions to incorporate the role of indigenous knowledge and practices regarding native species and ecosystems.
Denver Zoo has a long history of supporting conservation and wildlife rescue programs in Australia and New Zealand. Since 2018, the Zoo has supported the Kea Conservation Trust, which works to assist in the conservation of the endangered parrot species native to New Zealand, through the contribution of radio transmitters that allow experts to monitor their movements and breeding activity. And in 2020, when bushfires ravaged Australia’s eucalyptus forest, affecting more than 3 billion animals, the Zoo and its donors responded with their support to help wildlife rescue efforts across the continent.
Demolition of Bird World is currently underway, with construction on “Down Under” starting this summer. We’re also in the process of building a new habitat for its Chilean and American flamingos, which is also scheduled to open in 2023. For more information, visit DenverZoo.org.
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