N.Y.’s Queens Zoo plans new jaguar exhibit

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Big plans in store for animals at New York City zoos – if economy ever roars back to life

BY Katie Nelson

Monday, January 4th 2010, 4:00 AM

A new Bronx Zoo African safari exhibit – with real-life smells. New shark tanks at Coney Island. And a jaguar display at the Queens zoo.

New York’s animal exhibits are poised for an unprecedented evolution, said Bob Cook, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s executive vice president. That is, if they can get the money.

The society is also proposing a new health clinic for sick animals in the Bronx as part of a 20-project plan to “improve the lives of the animals and connect people to nature in New York,” Cook said yesterday.

If the economy cooperates, they’ll be implemented over the next five to seven years as part of the first-ever Wildlife Conservation Society master plan, he said.

Crain’s New York Business reported on the plan on its Web side yesterday. A $100 million renovation of the New York Aquarium in Coney Island is particularly exciting, Cook said, and is going ahead.

“As Coney Island is reborn, we, too, will be reborn,” he said, referring to plans for major new construction, including hotels, housing and attractions, in the area.

Never mind that it’s a tricky time for fund-raising for nonprofit organizations. The society has been hard hit with exhibition closures, multimillion-dollar budget cuts and 15% workforce reductions.

“We made a lot of hard choices when the recession hit to become more efficient,” Cook said.

“So when the economy indicates, we’re going to have a plan in front of us for when we all emerge. When people want to invest, we’re ready to go.”




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