Chattanooga Zoo Begins Construction On South American Expansion

Friday, September 21, 2018
Giant Anteater
Giant Anteater
- photo by Christian Sperka, Nashville Zoo

The Chattanooga Zoo has started the construction phase for a new exhibit which will be added to the Zoo’s existing South American “Corcovado Jungle” area. The new exhibit is slated to open at the end of the year.

The exhibit will first house one Giant Anteater, but is designed to house multiple animals with potential for breeding as part of the zoo’s participation in the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP).

The exhibit will be constructed in current open space within the Chattanooga Zoo’s perimeter. The exhibit will feature an indoor holding and keeper area, a large and spacious outdoor habitat including a pond, and multiple public viewing areas for visiting to observe and learn about these gentle giants.

There are currently over 500 SSP programs across AZA accredited zoos and aquariums. The purpose of the SSP program is to oversee the population management of certain species within AZA facilities and to enhance the preservation of those species in the wild.

“The addition of this new exhibit is indicative of our commitment to preserve these incredible animals,” said Dardenelle Long, Chattanooga Zoo CEO and president. “We are excited to participate in an additional SSP program and assist with the preservation of the Giant Anteater species.”

The Giant Anteater is insectivorous mammal who eats mostly ants and termites, up to 35,000 of them each day. The Anteaters can grow up to 7ft from the tip of their snout to the end of their tail and can weigh up to 140 pounds. The Giant Anteater species is currently considered vulnerable, and its population is in decline.

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