Cheyenne Mountain Zoo close to fundraising goal for new hippo exhibit

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Big changes are planned at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, but before they can make them a reality, they need your help.

The zoo needs $10.5 million to build an exhibit for endangered animals from Africa.

Right now they are 95 percent funded; now they’re asking the public to pitch in to raise the 5 percent.

The nonprofit organization is one of the very few zoos in the country that receives no tax support, so they’re banking on the support of folks in Colorado Springs to upgrade their facilities.

The hippo exhibit at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is empty.

“In simplest form, we’re building brand new homes for penguins and hippos,” said Cheyenne Mountain Zoo President and CEO Bob Chastain.

The two hippos that call the zoo home are on a little vacation. When they return home, the zoo is hoping to bring a few friends with them.

“We haven’t had a baby hippo here in like 25 to 30 years,” said Chastain.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is just one of a handful of zoos that house hippos.

“There’s only about 37 zoos in the entire country where you can see hippos,” said Chastain.

Once the new exhibit is completed, the hippos will be joined by African Penguins, a species that is classified as endangered.

The zoo hopes a new state-of-the-art filtration system will help the penguins reproduce.

“With the new ventilation system we could have baby chicks,” said Chastain.

Chastain says while the new exhibit will house these animals, it’s also about teaching people how truly special these animals are.

“75 cents of your money and we put it right into a conservation fund and that helps animals in the wild, not animals here, but animals in the wild,” adds Chastain.

To learn more about the campaign and how to contribute, click here.


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