African Elephant Crossing
This expansive, transformative habitat opened in 2011 and is home to five adult elephants, a mob of meerkats, an aviary, naked mole rats, and other African animals. The 15-acre area includes three outdoor ranges, the Sydell L. Miller Elephant Care & Visitor Center, the Crossing, multiple viewing areas onto the ranges and a special “nose-to-trunk” window.
The Wilber Night Range is a heated, outdoor area aware from public viewing that allows the elephants to be outside at night. The elephants can choose to use the Wilber Night Range even in the winter. It features radiant flooring to keep ice and snow from forming and conventional radiators on the ceiling for warmth.
African Elephant Crossing is Gold certified through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification program. The LEED program is the nationally accepted construction industry standard for green buildings, administered by the U.S. Green Building Council.
“Achieving LEED Gold certification is a great testament to the careful planning and execution that went into African Elephant Crossing,” said Zoo Executive Director Dr. Chris Kuhar. “The Zoo is committed to promoting sustainability, and we knew from the beginning of the exhibit’s design process that we had an opportunity to deliver two important messages, one of protecting wildlife and one of protecting the environment.”
The Zoo Society's successful $12.8 capital campaign for African Elephant Crossing was three times larger that any previous campaign and introduced a total of 3,800 individual donors, 11 times as many as any previous campaign.