Community support makes zoo project a reality | News, Sports, Jobs
Less than four years ago, the Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot announced the start of a fundraiser for big cat habitats. It was July 2017 when the Minot Community Facilities Fund granted the first million for the centennial fundraising campaign.
About five months later, community participation in the capital campaign was announced to fund the three-phase project of new habitats for lions, tigers and leopards.
Now in 2022, construction will soon begin on the new Leopard Habitat, the last habitat to be built for the zoo’s big cats.
“It takes a village” as the saying goes, to support and fund a three-phase, multi-million dollar project like this to provide new habitats for big cats. The community has certainly done this through their generosity of donations, large and small, from businesses, organizations and individuals to make this a reality. The Minot Park Board supports the project 100%.
The land was inaugurated for the habitats of the African lion and the Amur tiger in June 2018 and both were subsequently completed. The new African lion habitat, completed in 2019, is called Severson Ahart African Lion Savanna. Amur Tiger Valley opened in 2020.
Jennifer Kleen, executive director of the Greater Minot Zoological Society, said the total cost of big cat habitats is just under $10 million and about $8.9 million has been raised.
Many people have helped make all of this possible and are commended for what they have done and continue to do. Even after raising money for the leopard habitat, fundraising will continue for future projects to benefit the zoo.
The Roosevelt Park Zoo has the distinction of being the oldest zoo in North Dakota. Last year, the zoo welcomed 115,000 visitors, the highest number of visitors in its history.
The zoo means a lot to this community, its supporters and/or its visitors. Ron Merritt, Executive Director of Minot Parks, said it best: “The Roosevelt Park Zoo is a gem in our community and we are very proud of it.”