Cameron Park Zoo to see expansion, new arrivals

Local

Community members and some 300,000 visitors have a lot to look forward to starting in 2020 at Cameron Park Zoo, including a new addition from South Dakota.

“There was a female mountain lion carcass found that showed evidence of having been a very recent, nursing mother. So they were able to find two males and one little female,” says Terri Cox, Curator of Park Programs and Exhibits.

The males will stay in Oklahoma, and the female will come to Waco. She is getting the perfect name.

“We picked Tawakoni because the Tawakoni people were actually allied with the Waco indians here along the Brazos River,” Cox says. 

Tawakoni and her siblings will remain together at the Oklahoma City Zoo for the meantime during their first crucial stage of development.

“This is a really exciting time for us,” says Johnny Binder, Interm Zoo Director.

A $12.5 million bond by park directors is in the works – which includes a new animal hospital, more parking, an exibit for endangered African animals and a $5.5 million high-tech education center.

“It’s time that we get a larger education center, where we can have multiple instructors. And we can do education programs,” Binder says. “When we opened the zoo in ’93, the veterinary hospital, we had about fewer than 100 animals. Now we have over 1,400 animals.”

Right now, the assistant city manager and the park board of directors are working on how to proceed with the November bond. Until then, park officials are preparing for what’s to come.

“If things go as planned, we’ll work on all the projects at the same time,” Binder says.

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