As 2020 comes to a close we, like many, have been reflecting on the past twelve months. To be honest, it’s been a wild ride. Although this year has come with lots of challenges and uncertainty, it has also surprised us again and again with times of unexpected joy and excitement. A few examples…
This year, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was honored to once again be ranked as one of the top zoos in the nation by the USA Today 10Best awards. This year, we were rated the #4 Zoo in the country, as well as taking 2nd place honors for best exhibit for Rocky Mountain Wild! We are so grateful to all who voted for us. It’s a huge honor and one we don’t take lightly. Thank you for helping us continue to be recognized as one of the best zoos in the country!
We also reached a huge milestone this summer. With your help, we reached $3 million raised for conservation projects around the world through our Quarters for Conservation program- a huge achievement!
With the anticipated but still painful loss of our iconic Canada moose, Tahoma, came an unexpected bright spot. A baby Alaska moose, Atka, made Cheyenne Mountain Zoo his permanent home after being orphaned in the wild. Obviously, he’s already made quite an impression on keepers and guests alike- he’s ridiculously cute and has lots of personality. Though he’s still small, Atka will grow MUCH bigger- Alaska moose are the largest subspecies of moose and can grow to be almost seven feet tall at the shoulder. It will be such a joy to watch this little guy grow up!
Also in Rocky Mountain Wild, we welcomed a new mountain lion kitten to our Zoo family. We may never know Koda’s complete backstory. What we do know is that he was rescued by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officers after being found on a logging road outside of Spokane. Since he was still nursing and couldn’t survive alone, Koda came to CMZoo, to be introduced to one-year-old mountain lion siblings Adira and Sitka. He is, of course, tremendously cute. He’s also rambunctious and full of energy.
Sometimes, patience really pays off. This summer, we opened Water’s Edge, our new exhibit featuring penguins, hippos, warthogs, lemurs, and more. We are so excited about the return of Zambezi and Kasai, our two female Nile hippos, from their “vacation home” in Missouri. Soon after they arrived, we also welcomed Biko, a male who has a breeding recommendation with both females. Although Biko is significantly smaller than the girls, he has been doing well with his introductions to female hippo Zambezi and we’re looking forward to the possibility of a baby someday. Guest response to the new exhibit has been overwhelmingly positive- people love the opportunity to walk among the penguins on the boardwalk and see the hippos splashing in their infinity pool.
You may have also heard we are demolishing our Monkey Pavilion exhibit. After many years of weighing the pros and cons, we have made the difficult decision to close the building and begin to plan what’s next for that area. While we’re sad to see some animals relocated to other accredited zoos, we’re filled with joy about the possibility of creating something new and unique that will help connect guests to wildlife and wild places.
From sticking with us through a three-month closure to helping us reimagine what a CMZoo visit looks like during the age of a pandemic, our members, guests, and supporters have been with us every step of the way. We are so grateful for all you do for the Zoo. Our Zoo Family is lucky to have you as a part of it. Thank you for helping us to see the joy in this crazy time.
In this time of uncertainty and unexpected joys, I hope you’ll consider continuing your support of the Zoo with a gift to our Annual Fund. Because we are one of less than ten accredited zoos in the country who operates with no public tax support, your donation is especially important. Thank you so much for your support, now and always.
Vice President of Development and Marketing
For more information
Please contact Kelley Parker, Director of Development at [email protected] or 719-424-7810.