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Mayor Tim Keller and ABQ BioPark Break Ground on Asia Exhibit

Asia is the Zoo's first major expansion in decades and will feature expanded habitats for snow leopards, orangutans, Malayan tigers and more.

May 20, 2021 - Today Mayor Tim Keller joined the ABQ BioPark Zoo to break ground on its highly anticipated Asia exhibit.

Spanning 4.5 acres, this exhibit evokes the varied habitats of Asia. Guests will travel through the tropical jungles of Southeast Asia, climb the Himalayas, and then visit the coasts of Japan and northeast Russia.
“This is the first major expansion at the ABQ BioPark Zoo in decades,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “Our zoo is top-notch and we are making the investments and improvements necessary to make sure that families will enjoy it for years to come.”
As part of the development, the Zoo’s Asia-native animals will get bigger, upgraded homes and guests will enjoy more interactive learning opportunities throughout the exhibit.
Dozens of construction staff, architects and designers were hired for this expansion, which will take two phases to complete because of the size and complexity of the exhibit space. 
Phase one is set to open this fall and features a new elephant observation and event deck. Here, guests will have a bird’s eye view of the elephant herd.
Phase two, opening in fall 2022, will include innovative new homes for siamangs, orangutans, tigers, snow leopards and Steller’s sea eagles.
One exciting feature rolling out in phase two will be “flex yards,” which will give tigers, siamangs and orangutans the choice to explore new spaces each day—orangutans and siamangs may even choose to share the same yard at the same time. This will provide a number of enriching experiences for animals: tigers love rolling in new scents, orangutans and siamangs will have the opportunity to interact with members of another species, and all of the animals will have more choice and control of their environment. 
In addition, a new “play tree” structure will encourage natural behaviors: orangutans and siamangs can climb and the tiger can jump onto special platforms. The platforms can be adjusted by staff and stocked with enrichment items like food and scented objects.
When visiting, guests will learn how conservationists are helping Asian animals in the wild and how they can help too. The exhibit also will contain many immersive features for guests: they can walk underneath animal pathways, watch caretakers training animals, play the role of a scientist in the jungle searching for wildlife, or even visit a marketplace similar to what they might see in Asia.
“These new exhibits will completely transform the BioPark experience for our guests and for our animals,” said ABQ BioPark Director Stephanie Stowell. “Our guests will have more immersive opportunities to connect with the animals and the animals, themselves, will have expanded habitats with more space and opportunities for enrichment that encourage natural behaviors."
The project is expected to total $28 million, which will be covered by the voter-approved Gross Receipts Tax passed in 2016. Special thanks to the contractors for this project: The Hartman + Majewski Design Group, CLR Design and Bradbury Stamm Construction.
Media: A map of the exhibit space and rendering of the elephant viewing deck can be downloaded here: