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The $4.5 million ExxonMobil Endangered Tiger Habitat, home to Sumatran and Malayan tigers, opened at the Dallas Zoo in May 1999. The one-acre exhibit resembles a rain forest that has recently been logged, or clear cut, and is in the process of regrowth. The exhibit includes heated rocks for cat napping, small shrubs, exotic grasses, and pools.

In the wild, the tigers’ forested habitat is being severely affected by humans. Trees are cut for building material and firewood, and do not grow back; instead, smaller plants emerge in their place. Human encroachment leads to loss of protective cover, increased poaching, destruction of the prey tigers depend on, pollution and other serious problems.

Upon entering the exhibit, visitors immediately encounter a large glass viewing area where they may come face to face with a 300-pound tiger. Visitors then continue along a walkway that crosses a flowing stream and offers additional views into the exhibit through two bamboo “groves.” The trail also includes “discovery events” – such as a three-dimensional tiger head, a scratching post and raised-relief panels describing how tigers stalk and kill their prey – that educate visitors about tiger behavior and biology. The trail then leads past Southeast Asian primates in Primate Place to a “Tiger Village,” two buildings designed in traditional Southeast Asian architectural style.

The first building features graphics highlighting conservation problems and solutions, including habitat loss, competition for resources, hunting and cultural influences. A large map illustrates the tigers’ range in 1900 compared to today.

The second building has been recently renovated to hold classroom space for the Zoo’s program of camps and workshops.

In addition to their outdoor space, the tigers have 3,600-square-foot, off-exhibit holding quarters, which include air-conditioned indoor holding areas with sleeping shelves and skylights, and two smaller, quieter and more private maternity dens. The indoor holding area was designed to be flexible in accommodating the tigers’ needs. Each room is connected by a shift door as well as a transfer lane. Rooms can be opened to provide additional space for an individual animal or maintained as separate space for multiple animals. The off-exhibit quarters also include a 20’x35’ outdoor exercise yard.

The facility can house up to 10 cats, including two breeding pairs and their offspring. Since tigers normally sleep 20 hours a day, the Sumatran and Malayan tigers are rotated in the exhibit.

The Dallas Zoo is committed to creating a breeding program to help preserve these endangered big cats through the tiger Species Survival Plan. The ExxonMobil Endangered Tiger Habitat was specifically designed to be a breeding facility and will allow the Dallas Zoo to play a major role in worldwide tiger conservation programs.

The exhibit was funded by a combination of public and private contributions. The total cost includes the construction of Primate Place, which opened in 1998 and was considered Phase One of the tiger exhibit. ExxonMobil and the Save The Tiger Fund provided $1 million in funding to the Dallas Zoological Society. Funds from the 1995 City of Dallas bond election also were used to construct the exhibit.

ExxonMobil’s support of the exhibit is part of its international tiger conservation effort. The Save The Tiger Fund was established by ExxonMobil and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in 1995. Architects of the new exhibit were F&S Partners of Dallas. Exhibit design was by URSA International of Atlanta.



About the Dallas Zoo:  The Dallas Zoo, an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, is the largest zoological experience in Texas featuring a 106-acre park, thousands of animals, and an education department that offers programs for all ages. The official airline of the Dallas Zoo is American Airlines. The Zoo is located at 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway (I-35 at Marsalis). Admission is $15 for ages 12-64, $12 for ages 3-11 and 65+, and free for ages 2 and younger and Dallas Zoological Society (DZS) members. The Zoo is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, download the free iPhone app, visit DallasZoo.com, or call 469.554.7500. 


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