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News » US » Gilbane to build new play area for elephants » published 17 Apr 2018

Gilbane to build new play area for elephants

Maryland Zoo has appointed Gilbane for a series of renovation and expansion tasks, including the creation of new outdoor yards for elephants.

Other work within the zoo’s African Journey include major renovations to the giraffe and lion habitats and expansion of the elephant barn.

The outdoor elephant habitat expansion will nearly triple in size to 77,330 square feet, while the indoor barn space will nearly double to 14,300 square feet. New features will be added to the outdoor habitat that will increase the elephants’ ability to engage in natural behaviors such as dusting, bathing and mud wallowing.

Features will include a water cannon, a more accessible boardwalk, expanded stalls and new animal care team facilities.

The giraffe habitat portion of the project is aimed at improving animal health and safety. The slope of the current outdoor yard will be re-graded to make the ground flat throughout and therefore safer for the animals when the ground is wet. The outdoor habitat will increase 33 percent to 36,200 square feet and will include an expansion of the smaller giraffe yard.

“One of the more unique features of the renovation will be the Giraffe Crossing – a passageway that will allow the giraffe to cross over from their dedicated habitat to the Upper Savanna Habitat,” said Don Hutchinson, president and CEO of The Maryland Zoo. “This will not only give the giraffe additional room to roam, but to eventually share the Savanna with elephants as they would in the wild.”

A newly created guest pathway, the African Overlook, will be developed as a cul-de-sac in between the lion and the giraffe habitats, adjacent to the giraffe feeding station. The pathway will providing visitors with a more intimate viewing experience with an eye level passage to lions on the left and giraffes on the right.

The barrier along the lion side of the African Overlook path will be a combination of stainless steel mesh and glass, giving the lion habitat a more open feel. There will also be a large window with a training demonstration area where visitors will be able to watch keepers interact with the lions.

Construction will begin immediately and is expected to be completed by fall 2019, with the project estimated to cost US$16m.

 

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This article was published on 17 Apr 2018 (last updated on 17 Apr 2018).

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