Founded in 1875, the Buffalo Zoological Gardens is the third oldest zoo in the United States and was once one of America’s leading zoos. But in recent years, the Zoo was in danger of losing its accreditation as many of its exhibits no longer met the standards of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. Following the zoo’s mission of conservation, education, and recreation, a complete transformation was planned for the entire 23.5 acre complex.
In A NEW ZOO FOR BUFFALO, WNED producer Lynne Bader-Gregory documents the intricate planning and careful construction of two major attractions for the revitalized Buffalo Zoo: Otter Creek and Sea Lion Cove.
Bader-Gregory and her crew were given unprecedented access to the entire Zoo redevelopment process. Interviews with Zoo staff (including President Donna Fernandes) , board members, construction workers, architects and artisans -- combined with compelling behind the scenes footage -- provide insight into the complicated effort to realize a new vision that will impact an entire community.
Otter Creek, a new home for North American River Otters, will be the most ambitious exhibit to be constructed in decades. River otters are fresh water mammals that used to be native to Western New York. Otter Creek was developed to be a natural habitat that would improve the experience for both the animals and zoo patrons. Its first residents will be a pair of brother and sister otters, Harry and Hermione.
Next door, Sea Lion Cove is under construction. Over the winter, the Zoo’s new sea lions will be trained. A NEW ZOO FOR BUFFALO will show how animal handlers teach them the behaviors that will become part of their daily performance at the new exhibit.
“I am so proud to have been part of this production. This whole endeavor has been an incredible challenge for the Buffalo Zoo,” said Bader-Gregory. “They are truly creating top-notch habitats that will stand the test of time. I hope this program encourages people to go to the Zoo and check out these great new exhibits and then support the zoo as it continues to work through the master plan. It's going to be amazing.”
Funding by Robert and Elisabeth Wilmers
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