Over the past several months we shared high level details of our plans to bring two new species to the Pueblo Zoo: African painted dogs and DeBrazza’s monkeys. Well, I’m happy to say that we have a lot more information to share with you now and hope that you’ll share in our excitement.
So…Why these exhibits and these animals? Why now?
The mission of the Pueblo Zoo is to promote appreciation and understanding of the natural world. We accomplish our mission by providing inspiring educational experiences and unique up-close and personal experience that only we can give. In many ways, I look at our 25-acre facility as our classroom and our collection of nearly 400 animals as our curriculum. Any good educator will tell you that to achieve academic success you have to add to new content and offer new experiences to build a robust and effective curriculum. That’s exactly what we’re doing.
These new exhibits will bring fresh educational opportunities to our 100,000 annual guests which includes more than 20,000 direct student contacts from right here in Pueblo County.
A strong component to the “new curriculum” will be the opportunity to share the most current and compelling conservation stories. African painted dogs are one of the world’s most endangered predators. Our new exhibit and associated educational programs will be a catalyst for us to share stories from these animals’ home range in Africa. Through our awareness building programs it is our hope to inspire the Pueblo community and zoo guests to join us in supporting in-situ (in original home-range habitats in Africa) conservation through the efforts of the Painted Dog Conservation programs in Zimbabwe.
Perhaps, more importantly…we are giving our guests exactly what they want!
Through annual summer exit surveys we ask our guests to tell us about their experience at the Pueblo Zoo. We ask them what they like, as well as what they’d like to see more of on future visits. Our guests tell us they enjoy our most social and dynamic group animals: otters and penguins. They also tell us that they’d like to see more monkeys. These two new exhibits will provide our guests with what they told us they want. And of course, by doing just that, we hope to inspire more visitors to come through our gates and show their support for the zoo.
And it’s not just about dogs and monkeys...our African crested porcupines and meerkats will also have a new summer home.
Continue to watch our Facebook page and website for updates. And, if you feel so inspired, please consider making a donation to this new project. We’re nearly three-quarters of the way there and will need to draw upon the support of our amazing community to make this exciting project a reality.
- Stephanie Stowell
Pueblo Zoo Executive Director