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Caldwell Zoo planning ‘complete transformation’ of South America exhibit

Capybaras, otters, jaguars and sloths, oh my!
Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 11:47 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2021 at 9:13 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Caldwell Zoo’s South American exhibit is one step closer to a complete transformation.

The zoo is in the process of finalizing plans they started about three years ago to renovate the entire four acre exhibit with an addition for “some of the most dynamic animals in all of the Americas,” including capybaras, otters, jaguars and sloths.

Caldwell Zoo Executive Director Hayes Caldwell said the South America exhibit is the oldest exhibit at the zoo and they have not renovated it since the 1980′s, “So it’s to dress it up a little bit, and change things around,” Caldwell said.

The renovation process will start with demolition.

“A lot of the original structures down there are not worth saving, so it’s almost like starting with a clean state,” Caldwell said.

But the animals that are there currently will be moved safely into other holding areas once the renovation process starts.

“Some of the animals will get to spend some time in other zoos for a period of time until we can bring them back and introduce them to their new quarters.”

Along with additional species and complete renovation, they plan to add a walk-through aviary for the community to be able to walk through and see the animals up close and personal.

Once construction starts in early 2022, the project will take about 12 to 14 months to complete, with plans to open around Spring 2023. The zoo will remain open during construction.

The project is funded by the Caldwell Foundation. For more information on Caldwell Zoo and for a link to the the Boo at the Zoo event this weekend, visit caldwellzoo.org. Tickets must be reserved online prior to the event.

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