Celebrating success and growth in 2017
Highlights included milestones in conservation efforts, a new Zoo experience and the breaking of ground on a Grand New View.
2017 was another year of success and growth for Zoo Atlanta, highlighted by achievements in local and global conservation efforts, the debut of an exciting new experience, continued strong attendance and the breaking of ground on the Zoo’s most transformative project to date.
“Zoo Atlanta is very excited to hit the ground running in 2018 while looking back on a 2017 that gave us so much cause for celebration and pride,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO, “from new commitments in wildlife conservation, to enhancements to our guest experience, to the many countless moments in between that can only be experienced in a place where the passion for what we do is centered on the lives of more than 1,000 animals from around the world.”
Construction began in late 2017 on Grand New View, opening in 2019. Through the project, the historic Cyclorama building will be revitalized and reborn as Savanna Hall, a one-of-a-kind event destination overlooking an all-new African savanna featuring new and expanded habitats for elephants, giraffes and other African wildlife. Additional elements of the project will include a grand new entry plaza. Read more about Grand New View here.
Animal highlights included the births of an Angolan colobus; blue crane; Chilean flamingos; green jays; Mona Island coqui frogs; Pan’s box turtles; red-eyed tree frogs; speckled pigeon and many more. New to the Zoo in 2017 were a pair of endangered crowned lemurs, Sava and Xonsu. Ya Lun and Xi Lun, the only giant panda twins in the U.S., turned 1 in September, as did western lowland gorilla Mijadala, the youngest grandchild of the legendary late Willie B.
Western lowland gorillas were one of the many species to benefit from conservation action and support from Zoo Atlanta in 2017. Zoo Atlanta joined the global conservation community in celebrating its first-ever World Gorilla Day in September, and its longtime partner in saving gorillas, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, received the distinguished International Conservation Award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
2017 marked the first year of program funding for three international projects through its Quarters for Conservation initiative, which donates 25 cents of every Zoo admission ticket to projects for wildlife. Beneficiaries of Quarters for Conservation support in the effort’s inaugural 2016/2017 year were Elephants for Africa, the Golden Lion Tamarin Association and Project Golden Frog. Projects for the 2017/2018 program year are the East Africa Vulture Project, Project Bush Dog and the Tiger Conservation Campaign.
Regional conservation efforts included another successful release of more than 20 native eastern indigo snakes into the wild in Alabama’s Conecuh National Forest, in partnership with the Central Florida Zoo’s Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation and Auburn University. Later in the year, the Zoo welcomed a new group of another Georgia native species, diamondback terrapins, into Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience, in support of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center’s Jekyll Island Causeway Conservation Program. The youngsters are being reared at the Zoo for eventual return to the wild on Jekyll Island. Learn more about these and other Zoo Atlanta conservation efforts here.
Zoo attendance remained strong in 2017 with over 945,400 guests, despite one of the rainiest spring seasons in recent memory and citywide transportation challenges caused by the I-85 bridge collapse in March. Attendance was bolstered by the opening of Treetop Trail presented by Kaiser Permanente, a new aerial playground that invites guests to trek at their own pace as they navigate a series of rope ladders, bridges, nets and tightrope-style foot lines, all the while safely secured and tethered with full-body harness and lanyard to a continuous overhead tracking system. The course, made possible with additional support from the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority, features 22 different elements that culminate in a zip line over the Zoo’s KIDZone playground.
Visit zooatlanta.org to learn more or to plan a visit.