Tuesday, January 08, 2013

City contributes $100,000 for patas monkey exhibit; construction begins this spring

A fundraising campaign to build a new patas monkey exhibit at Zoo Boise is complete in just five weeks thanks to a $100,000 boost from the City of Boise.

The Friends of Zoo Boise (FOZB) raised the remaining $119,000 from private donors. City funds will come from year-end savings in the Boise Parks & Recreation fiscal year 2012 budget.

Construction starts this spring. Zoo Boise's three patas monkeys are expected to move into the new exhibit in fall 2013.

"Once again, Boise citizens have shown their compassion and commitment by coming together to create a positive outcome for our community," said Mayor David Bieter. "I commend the Friends of Zoo Boise for quickly raising contributions for this important exhibit and look forward to seeing its three new residents move in later this year."

FoZB is a non-profit organization founded in 1961 to support the zoo.

The new Patas Monkey Exhibit will be located in the African Plains exhibit near the giraffe barn. The structure built of sustainable materials will have indoor and outdoor living space and three large viewing windows for the public.

The fundraising campaign was precipitated by a zoo break-in Nov. 17, which resulted in the death of a male patas monkey. Since then, the remaining male has lived alone at the zoo. Two female patas monkeys arrived Dec. 3 from the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York.

Upon completion of a quarantine period in February, the females will be placed in an enclosure within sight of the male. After determining that they are compatible, all three monkeys will live together in the Primate House until the new exhibit is complete.

Patas monkeys are ground-dwelling animals from the plains of Africa. At 2 ½ feet, they typically weigh 35 pounds.

As part of its conservation mission, Zoo Boise will contribute 10 percent of project costs to the Wildlife Conservation Society for the preservation of patas monkey habitat in Yankari National Park in Africa.

Long-term capital improvement plans at Zoo Boise include demolition of the Primate House, which was built in 1967. "We are planning to replace aging facilities with modern zoo exhibits that are better for both the animals and our visitors" said Steve Burns, Zoo Boise director.

Media contacts:
Steve Burns, Zoo Boise Director, 384-4125, ext. 203
Amy Stahl, Marketing & Community Relations, 869-0637 cell