SACRAMENTO -- Sacramento Zoo officials are beginning the long process of finding a new home for the 90-year-old, 14-acre facility.
Sacramento Zoo Director Jason Jacobs says over the years the zoo has eliminated enclosures for bears, gorillas, elephants and tigers because they did not meet the standard by the zoo accrediting body.
"Every day when I walk through the zoo kids ask me, 'Where is the bear, where is the tiger?'" Jacobs said.
In addition, it doesn’t have the space to meet one of its primary purposes -- to preserve endangered species through zoo breeding programs.
Ideally, a new 50- to 70-acre zoo would allow for larger multi-species enclosures so giraffes, zebras and other grazing species can be combined. More space for research and breeding programs is on the wish list, as well as space for parking, which is a big headache for visitors now.
While finding a site and financing is a major challenge over the next several years, there is a sense of urgency as well.
“If we don’t do something for the Sacramento Zoo, 10 years from now we’re going to have a zoo with maybe one or two giraffes, some monkeys, parrots and some other small animals,” Jacobs said.
Discussions with the city, community members and supporters will take place to pave a path toward a new location for the zoo. There is no timeline yet, but some believe having a new location by 2027, when the zoo celebrates its 100th anniversary, would be ideal.