Reid Park Zoo expansion will enhance experience without compromising safety

New Tiger habitat

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Situations like the one involving a jaguar at a zoo in the Phoenix area are part of the discussion as teams at Reid Park Zoo design the first phase of their expansion.

Dr. Sue Tygielski, Director of Zoo Operations, said both visitor and animal safety are considered priorities when laying out habitats at Reid Park Zoo. Staff recently upgraded railings around the park, replaced some glass partitions and swapped in some new mesh lining in several enclosures.

"Our tiger habitat would be very challenging for a guest to interact directly with an animal and I think that’s kind of something that’s always on our minds as we design new habitats," said Tygielski.

The new tiger habitat will be part of the phase one renovations at Reid Park Zoo expected to be complete by 2022. The big cats will have more space and visitors should enjoy new views, but the same safety standards maintained by the current facility will carry over as well.

For example, walls for tiger enclosures have to be at least 17 feet, according to Tygielski.

She said various park staff are scattered throughout the park in case any visitors choose to ignore numerous signs advising not to enter enclosures or even hop a secondary barrier.

The Marble family enjoyed a day at the zoo Monday. With several children of various ages, Jared Marble said he wasn't worried about anyone's safety because of all the precautions around the park.

“They’re kids...so they’re going to mess around a little bit, but we have big brother here to kind of keep an eye on them and we’re keeping an eye too,” he said.

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