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Oregon Zoo Expands Elephant Habitat

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

 

The Oregon Zoo's new Elephant Lands habitat continues to expand, with plans for hills, meadows, elephant-size swimming pools, and mud wallows. 

Elephant Lands is a sweeping expansion of the zoo's Asian elephant habitat that will quadruple the animals' space with the intention of enhancing and improving their daily experiences. 

See Video Below of An Oregon Zoo Elephant Mud Party

Over the past year, designers researched, sampled, and tested a variety of sands before picking a type they felt to be optimal for elephants. While much of the habitat is at least four feet deep in sand, care was taken to include some areas of harder-packed dirt that the elephants can dig up to create wallows. 

Animal Curator, Bob Lee, who oversees the zoo's elephant program, said that the elephants have a lot of fun playing in the wallows, romping around and squirting each other with their trunks. 

He said the muddy wallows also serve an important purpose.

"On warm summer days, they cool the elephants off and provide a protective coating to to shield their skin from harmful UV rays. A lot of people don't realize it, but elephants can get sunburned just like us," said Lee.

Work on the new habitat which has been sequenced into phases will be completed in the fall of 2015.

 

 

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