Special funding grant goes toward popular elephant exhibit at the Phoenix Zoo

Christopher Lomahquahu

Gila River Indian News


Recently, the Phoenix Zoo unveiled an expanded viewing area for nature’s largest and gentlest animals. During an appreciation event at the Phoenix Zoo, the Gila River Indian Community and several other donors, were recognized for their contributions on Oct. 17.


According to Cheryl Pablo, Program Administrator for the GRIC Office of Special Funding, a grant of $500,000, was approved by Community Council on Sept. 20, 2017. “The grant the Community made, was $500,000 towards the Zoo’s capital campaign (The Pride Campaign) for exhibit remodels/improvements,” said Pablo.


She said, “The Community’s grant was applied towards the new elephant enclosure called the ‘Giants of The Asian Realm,’ elephant viewing experience.”


In addition, through the zoo’s capital fundraising campaign, they were able to construct a new elephant viewing experience, exhibit remodels and improvements and the Doornbos Discovery Amphitheater, where educational programs will take place.

The ones that benefited most from the recent improvements are three female Asian elephants, Indu, Reba, and Sheena, who have a little bit more space to move around the expanded viewing area.

The campaign draws on the philanthropic support of charitable donations to fund capital campaigns that will expand and provide additional capacity for wildlife in the care of the Phoenix Zoo.


Phillip Peterson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Phoenix Zoo and Arizona Center for Nature Conservation opened the event with a speech. “It’s a momentous day for the zoo, we keep adding things to the zoo and it is a really special one, it’s another result of the pride funding campaign that we have going on,” said Peterson.


He said there are a lot of people, that were involved with the campaign, “There are many neat things, that will be made possible, through the generous contributions, like the Community, it’s unbelievable,” said Peterson.

A proclamation was made to acknowledge the Phoenix Zoo’s efforts to educate the public about wildlife conservation and preservation.


The zoo, as a whole, has a mission to educate and preserve the welfare of the world’s most endangered species. Part of that mission includes the Namibian Village and Trail, which will provide an immersive experience of the animals of West Africa and Tropical Rainforest, featuring animals found near the equator.