Photos and Updates
November 19: Bridge to Provide Overhead Passage for Pachyderms
Peter and Ella’s Crossing, a 17-foot-wide bridge that stretches 55 feet long and stands 12 feet above the ground, was installed on November 11 at Toyota Elephant Passage. This expansive bridge will allow visitors to view Asian elephants, Malayan tapirs and Indian rhinos passing overhead when Toyota Elephant Passage opens in 2012.
Built to support animals weighing more than 12,000 pounds, the bridge will provide elephants, rhinos and tapirs access from one habitat to another and promote walking, an important part of an animal’s daily life.
"This is very exciting because now people can really see this project come together," says Denver Zoo Vice President for Planning and Capital Projects George Pond. "For months we've been working on the infrastructure of Toyota Elephant Passage, but this is one of the first real pieces where the public can see the images we’ve only had on paper take shape."
Animals will rotate through different outdoor yards throughout a day, leaving sensory clues as they would in their natural habitat. Removing leaves and branches from trees or scraping or digging the ground are just some of the natural animal behaviors at Toyota Elephant Passage. In addition to being able to see pachyderms move overhead, zoo visitors may even see zookeepers practice training exercises and discuss animal management behaviors.
The bridge will be named to honor a very generous gift from the Bardsley Foundation, which was founded by Peter and Betsy Luce, whose daughter, Lynn Luce Kitt, is a Denver Zoo board member. The family is a longtime supporter of the zoo and made the gift in the names of Kitt's children, twins Peter and Ella. The zoo is pleased to name the bridge Peter and Ella's Crossing given by the Bardsley Foundation.
The elephant bridge is just one of many exciting changes in recent weeks on the Toyota Elephant Passage construction site. Here are other structure updates:
- Four of the eight bedrooms in the Clayton F. Freiheit Elephant House are taking shape, as foundation walls are being poured. At 9,800 square feet total, the eight elephant stalls are eight times bigger than our current facilities.
- The roof of the clouded leopard holding building has been completed as Kiewit Construction crews race to finish exterior work throughout before the weather worsens. Clouded leopards adapt well to living in trees and their tail (nearly three feet long) helps with their balance. Retractable claws and short, flexible legs allow leopards to move adeptly away from predators and to its prey.
- The tapir stalls at the rhino/tapir building are nearing completion. At 1,330 square feet the tapir stalls are 10 times larger than our present facility. The walls for a pathway that will allow shifting tapirs and rhinos in and out of the building have gone up as well.
- Rock work is being formed for a habitat for Sarus cranes and ruddy shelducks adjacent to the Asian Pavilion. The rock work will mimic river edge geology similar to rocks you would find along a stream in southeast Asia. A five-foot tall waterfall will send water from pool E into a stream in the exhibit, where cranes and shelducks can wade.
Free Toyota Elephant Passage Construction Tower Tours
October 28, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
November 11, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
November 17, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
November 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m
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