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Enjoy Daniel Tiger and Spectacular Tiger Forest Exhibit at Zoo Knoxville this Saturday 
Arya Tiger Forest

Children visiting Zoo Knoxville are going to be in for an exciting tiger overload this weekend, with the opportunity to both view Malayan Tigers up close in their new Tiger Forest exhibit, or meet up with a famous tiger personality from an increasingly popular children’s education show.

Daniel Tiger

The celebration of Tiger Forest will continue when PBS character Daniel Tiger of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” visits this Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. The Daniel Tiger experience is included with Zoo Knoxville admission on Saturday.

The $10 million, 1.5-acre Tiger Forest exhibit opened earlier this month and includes three Malayan tigers and two white-naped cranes, both critically endangered species.

Since the very minute Tiger Forest officially opened on April 7, the animals in the exhibit have been putting on an animated show for Zoo Knoxville visitors.

As excited guests stepped over cut ribbon in front of the towering Sheih Family Pagoda, the four-foot-tall white-naped cranes tilted their heads to the sky and called in alternating patterns. Their timeliness felt like a celebratory announcement of Tiger Forest's opening.

White-Naped Cranes

Once guests made it inside the indoor viewing portion of the exhibit, Bashir, one of Zoo Knoxville's two brother tigers, hissed at the crowd after realizing his proximity to eager observers. He galloped back into the door from which he appeared, and Arya was released from another door.

Arya was delivered via FedEx from the Fresno Chaffee Zoo in California in January and has had a little more time getting used to Tiger Forest than Bashir, so she was quite a bit warmer with crowd at the time.

Since opening day, the animals have continued to entertain and astound guests. On opening weekend, Arya climbed atop of the mock temple ruins and regally peered down at onlookers before settling in for a nap on her perch. Bashir has since warmed up to his new surroundings and has even been spotted enjoying a swim in the exhibit's pool. And the cranes have continued with their calling and pecking at berries on the shrubs in their new habitat.

With the opening of Tiger Forest, these three tigers are now part of an intricate, international effort to restore the Malayan tiger species. Today, just over 300 exist.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Mayor Madeline Rogero praised Zoo Knoxville officials for their ambition, noting that the zoo had 275,000 tourists in 2016 alone, contributing over $34 million to the local economy. “That was before Tiger Forest,” she added.

“Yes, we’re investing in the local experience and family memories and environmental awareness when the City and County invest in Zoo Knoxville,” said Mayor Rogero. “But we’re also investing in jobs; in revenues for hotels, restaurants, and other businesses—and we’re just getting started!”

In 2014, the City of Knoxville invested $10 million from its capital improvement funds for Zoo Knoxville to use towards improvements like Tiger Forest.

Just last month, the family of Randy and Jenny Boyd donated $5 million toward what will now be called the Boyd Family Asian Trek, taking the total raised to $21.4 million in the project’s $30 million goal.

Expected to be finished in 2018, this second phase following Tiger Forest will include indoor-outdoor habitats for white-handed gibbons and languor monkeys, a 40-foot treehouse overlook, restaurant, and public restrooms.

Zoo Knoxville’s other male tiger, Tanvir, will be moved from the zoo's long-time tiger location into Tiger Forest once the south end of the Tiger Forest exhibit is opened in the very near future. Zoo officials are working on the finishing touches for this portion, which will likely be opened by the end of April. The south end of the exhibit affords overhead views (especially from the path leading to Boyd Family Red Panda Village), as well as similar up close and semi-underwater views to the north portion of Tiger Forest.

Once all of the tigers have been moved into the new exhibit, the endangered painted dogs (formerly known as the African wild dog) will move into the tigers' previous location.

Needless to say, Zoo Knoxville is continuing to grow into an increasingly impressive regional attraction. This weekend will be a great chance to see what all the excitement is about, and to meet a children's television celebrity at the same time!

For more information, visit www.zooknoxville.org.
Posted by On 21 April, 2017 at 5:05 PM