Saturday, March 1, 2008

Anonymous Zoo Response

This is what was emailed to me in response to a copy of my letter to the editor of the CA, that I sent to the Memphis Zoo.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us about construction of the Teton Trek exhibit. We have several things we would like to share with you about the exhibit.

The 4-acre site where Teton Trek will reside sits on the Zoo's grounds to the east of the Northwest Passage exhibit. While trees were removed to prepare the exhibit's area, remaining trees are protected during construction. The Zoo requires an urban arborist to make recommendations on the health and treatment of these remaining trees. The new Teton Trek exhibit will have over 500 new trees planted as well as shrubs and annual plantings.

The exhibit layout and tree removal criteria are based on containment requirements of the resident species, seismic requirements and drainage requirements. Many existing trees along the perimeter of the construction will be incorporated into the marsh and the wolf and elk exhibits.

The Zoo greatly values the forested area of Overton Park and even have future plans for a passive, walk-through exhibit called "Chickasaw Bluffs." When it is completed, this "nature walk" exhibit will be the largest in the Zoo.

The Zoo strives to be good stewards of the city-owned property that it manages in Overton Park. We only consider proper, ecologically-minded projects that provide quality cultural, environmental and education experiences for our citizens. With an exhibit life of 50 years or more, Teton Trek will serve millions of visitors for generations to come.

I sent a followup question asking for more info on the Chickasaw Bluffs exhibit and received this:

The Chickasaw Bluffs exhibit has not been formally drawn up. Right now it is only working concept. Therefore, there is no timeline for when this will be completed.

After Teton Trek, the Zoo plans on removing existing exhibitry on our current footprint to make room for a new hippo exhibit called Zambezi River Hippo Camp. It will likely be located near the Zoo's current African Veldt.

The Zoo is currently working on a new 10-year master plan, and we hope to include the Bluffs exhibit as a part of the other renovations.