The beginning of a new adventure at your Akron Zoo!
Your Akron Zoo is dedicated to preserving endangered species and replicating their exotic, natural environments. We are excited to open two new areas over the next two years, bringing the promise of more tigers, lions, red pandas and the addition of primates!
With many exciting innovations ahead, your Akron Zoo will roar to new, even higher levels of science education, species conservation and a uniquely wild and wonderful guest experience.
Pride of Africa
The new Landon & Cynthia Knight Pride of Africa experience will reflect the beauty and mystery of the savannas of Kenya. Guests will learn about the delicate balance of life on Africa's Southern Rift - the land of regal African lions, grass-eaters like Speke's gazelles, large birds like storks and the native Maasai of Kenya.
Predators, prey and a special Maasai livestock enclosure, called a boma, will be on display.
Pride of Africa will include a new, expanded African lion habitat, with room for a pride of lions, a habitat for white storks and Speke's gazelles - a new addition to your Akron Zoo. The boma will feature goats, and continue to offer a feeding experience for guests.
Guests will also enjoy an expanded train ride through the plains of Africa, catching glimpses of lions, gazelles and more! The new spray pad will give visitors an opportunity to cool down in the heat, while learning more about the clean water crisis in Africa.
Rebuilding the Pride
Your Akron Zoo is partnering with Rebuilding the Pride, an African coalition addressing socioeconomic and ecological threats to the Southern Rift communities. Priorities include understanding and fostering traditional Maasai herding practices, while sustaining an ecologically-healthy predator/prey relationship in the region.
Lions in the Serengeti region of Africa are especially endangered. In fact, the population has dwindled to only half of what it was in 1950. Today in the Maasai pridelands, there are estimated 65 surviving lions.
The new lion habitat will allow the Akron Zoo to one day host a breeding pair - specifically selected to preserve and strengthen the gene pool of surviving African lions as part as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP).
Wild Asia will recreate the southeast Asia jungles and Himalayan forests. Lush tree canopies add to the ambiance while offering shade as guests roam throughout this exotic adventure.
The low, baritone bellow of tiger growls are punctuated by the "whooping" duet of our vocal gibbons. And if you listen closely, you may even hear the swift twittering of our red pandas.
All tigers are endangered, including the Sumatran tigers that call the Akron Zoo home. Of the nine known tiger subspecies, three have become extinct in the last 60 years. Some experts predict that the entire species will become extinct in the wild in the next decade.
In fact, it's estimated that only 300 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild. The Sumatran tiger habitat is limited to small ranges in Indonesia's largest island, Sumatra, where their lives are threatened by hunting and where the environment is threatened by commercial palm oil cultivation.
Our plans for a spacious tiger habitat with grassy slopes and a pool will allow the Akron Zoo to contribute to the Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP) by enabling more of these powerful, solitary cats to call the Akron Zoo home.
Through our continued participation in the SSP, our guests can also look forward to tiger cubs - a joy we've not celebrated in almost two decades. It is our hope to help keep the Sumatran tigers alive and well to be enjoyed for generations to come.
Red Panda Protection
Wild Asia promises an expanded, natural habitat for our red pandas as well. To no surprise, the red panda is one of our guests' all-time favorite animals. Native to eastern Himalayas - primarily India, Nepal and Bhutan - the red panda is about the size of a raccoon, lives in forests and subsists primarily on bamboo leaves.
Sadly, red pandas face serious endangerment and are severely threatened by pelt hunting and by shrinking habitat from agricultural encroachment and climate change. As part of the Red Panda Species Survival Plan (SSP), the Akron Zoo's new red panda habitat will be home to a duo of red pandas to help sustain this critically endangered species.
By popular demand, your Akron Zoo will be introducing primates to Wild Asia! A pair of white-cheeked gibbons will have a new indoor/outdoor habitat. The gibbons' call, which can carry great distances, are most often male-female duets that mark territory and express family bonds. Fun fact: while we call these energetic 10- to 20-pound primates "monkeys," they are actually small apes who form highly social families.
Gibbons are endangered, due largely to deforestation for palm oil cultivation in their native Vietnam, Laos and China. Akron Zoo's participation in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) will help save this species from extinction with the birth of every new gibbon that will call the Akron Zoo home.
Together, Pride of Africa and Wild Asia are a combined $17 million project. Thanks to the Akron Zoo’s Summit County tax levy support, $11 million is committed.
We are also raising funds through our ROAR campaign, a comprehensive campaign with contributions from individual donors, corporate partners and private foundations.
The Akron Zoo has raised $4.8 million of the $6 million fundraising goal, thanks to support from lead donors, the Lehner Family Foundation and Robert. O. & Annamae Orr Family Foundation and many others. The zoo has also received a $500,000 appropriation from the State of Ohio.
We are also grateful for Bob Littman and John Slagter who are overseeing a campaign leadership team of eight individuals throughout the region who represent the community.
Donate to ROAR Campaign
For more information on the ROAR campaign, contact Pam Holtz at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kate Bame at email@example.com.
Your Akron Zoo has partnered with Hasenstab Architects, GLMV Zoos, Panzica Construction and Marker Building Advisors to make Pride of Africa and Wild Asia a reality.