Phoenix Zoo Receives $1 Million Gift for New Habitat Along Africa Trail

Posted By on January 30, 2019
Rendering of new Africa Trail environment.

The Arizona Center for Nature Conservation (ACNC)/Phoenix Zoo received a $1 million donation from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust to help fund construction of the new African lion and spotted hyena one-acre habitat.

The new habitat is part of the the Zoo’s capital campaign, The Pride Campaign. The $12.1 million Pride Campaign consists of the construction of new and improved habitats, guest experiences and education venues, and facilities for conservation of endangered species. Several projects have already been completed with more underway, with nearly 80 percent of the Campaign fundraising goal complete.

A major component of the Pride Campaign includes numerous enhancements to the Zoo’s Africa Trail. The area will be transformed into an immersive journey into life in West Africa, including a Namibian Village, meerkat, leopard, warthog and a mixed species habitat.

The conversation will include a new African lion and spotted hyena habitat. This new and expanded habitat will allow the Zoo to expand its role in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Lion Species Survival Plan® Program — a comprehensive international breeding program.

Both lion and hyena will coexist within the new Namibian habitat as they share a unique exhibit with two separate living spaces that either lions or hyenas may occupy on any given day. Guests will be able to experience these spectacular animals at all times, from two different viewpoints through an expansive glass viewing area.

“The Phoenix Zoo held special meaning for Nina. She invested generously in it from its very beginnings, including playing an instrumental role in the Zoo’s early efforts to save the African Oryx from extinction,” said Carol Peden Schilling, chair of the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and Pulliam’s niece. “We honor her legacy by continuing to contribute to the Zoo’s species preservation efforts. We’re thrilled to help enhance this community jewel and support this critical conservation work.”

“This grant from The Nina Mason Pulliam Trust will help to create this unique and exciting habitat for two admired and revered species,” said Derrick Hall, Chair of the ACNC’s Pride Campaign and President & CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks. “We are excited to bring the vision of the Namibian Village along the Zoo’s Africa Trail to life, allowing the Phoenix Zoo to continue to inspire people and motivate them to care for the natural world through education, conservation and experiences, only found here.”

The grant to ACNC/Phoenix Zoo represents one of 19 awarded to nonprofit organizations in Arizona by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust during the second of two grant cycles during 2018.

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