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  운영자 2005-05-10 19:42:38 | Hit : 23256 | Vote : 8149
Subject   [소식] Zoo Officials say Cash Infusion will lead to “21st Century” Zoo
제목: Zoo Officials say Cash Infusion will lead to “21st Century” Zoo

The $30 million for the Minnesota Zoo recently approved by the Legislature won't buy just more of the same, zoo officials are promising "next generation" exhibits.

Zoo director Lee Ehmke on Thursday described to his fellow board members revolutionary displays like the ones he helped build years ago for the Bronx Zoo in New York.

The exhibits will be "very different from anything we have ever had here," he said. That means new animals, including bears which "everyone expects to see in a major zoo and that we've never had."

James Mayer, another zoo board member, said that over the next 10 to 20 years and at a cost of more than $100 million there would be "a next-generation zoo" with fewer pit displays which he said "really aren't that much better than the old cages."

The money will help revitalize the suburban zoo, which has suffered from rising prices, closed exhibits and attendance declines, he said. But Mayer said Ehmke gave him hope.

"Lee is probably the best guy in the world at what he does," he said. "What he did at the Bronx brings tears to your eyes."

The most famous example of Ehmke's work at that zoo is the $50 million Congo Gorilla Forest, which features dozens of concealed tricks to create the illusion of huge habitats and to lure the animals closer to the walls of glass.

For one example, on hot days gorillas are drawn near human visitors by a stream of cool air aimed at a particular spot.

It's all part of the philosophy of a 21st century zoo in which designers blur the lines between the animals and the humans. In the Bronx, a visitor can sit on the same rock as a tiger. The new zoos are both more playful and more sober than the old.

Bears will be the stars of Ehmke's first major new exhibit in Minnesota, the $20 million Gateway to the North. After that, the zoo hopes to redesign the entryway.

The big finish for the construction projects will be an African exhibit filled with crowd-pleasing animals.

"Lee's vision is for us to be one of the top 10 zoos in the country," zoo board chairman Todd Watchmaker said. "We hope people will get behind something they know can be a winner."

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