“This is a new era for Toledo Zoo elephants, with nearly limitless opportunities for enrichment and greater choices than ever before about how they spend their time,” Dr. Anne Baker, executive director, says. “Visitors could be surrounded by elephants on three sides, even coming practically eye-to-eye with them at our new covered overlook. You’ll leave with a whole new perspective on elephants – including an appreciation for the need to protect them worldwide.”
Smart design and engineering are clear throughout Tembo Trail:
• The new indoor viewing area features a “dayroom,” elephant “bedrooms” and a heated “porch” for all-weather access. The elephants are getting acclimated to these areas now.
• Work continues on the outdoor areas, primarily grading the sloping surfaces and naturalistic ridges which mimic the variations elephants would find in the wild. Of particular interest are the exhibit’s enrichment walls and many enrichment trees, making clever use of vertical space to encourage the elephants to reach, stretch and explore.
Tembo Trail has generated business for more than 64 companies, directly putting more than 145 people to work (not including Zoo staff). This represents 36,000+ hours over the last 14 months of construction. The $15 million project was made possible by Lucas County’s voters who supported the Zoo’s 2006 levy and by generous capital campaign donors, including Eaton Corporation and Jonathan F. Orser in memory of his mother, Grace Ford Orser.
As the Grand Opening approaches, ongoing updates will be shared at toledozoo.org/tembotrail.