The Denver Zoo’s Toyota Elephant Passage Exhibit is a magical place that definitely needs to be added to your list of summer adventures.
Exotic animals that fly through the night and swing through trees or use their trunks as snorkels and cool off in the shade to keep from overheating don’t only exist in Asia. One-horned rhinos, Asian elephants, fishing cats, clouded leopards and acrobatic gibbons, mingling around watering holes and giant rocks are all part of an Asian village working together at the Denver Zoo. Across ten acres, Toyota Elephant Passage’s extensive compound with important species allows visitors to explore and study the opulent background of animals in Asian culture, their intricate relationship with humans and the amount of work the Denver Zoo has done to protect these villages. These majestic, Asian species encourage visitors to understand the delicate ecosystems in which they live and make informed decisions about the global efforts to protect these endangered animals.
With its lead in animal care, conservation and management, the Toyota Elephant Passage provides seven times the space of the current Pachyderm exhibit making it one of the biggest elephant habitats in North America. The Denver Zoo alternates each of the Asian elephants, Indian rhinos and Malayan tapirs among five territories that provide a diverse landscape, enabling the zoo to also house a substantial number of bull elephants. In the long run, Toyota Elephant Passage hopes to make the Denver Zoo an Asian elephant breeding center.
The Chang Pa Wildlife Preserve helps visitors understand the relationships between animals and humans, which is a theme. Get close to the elephants and rhinos as you stroll across the boardwalk. But don’t be scared of the swinging gibbons and flying foxes overhead. Learn about the efforts for practical solutions to conservation challenges in the Schoelzel Family Village, the exhibit hub that observes a varied collection of Asian animals. Although efforts to protect wildlife in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Sumatra are strongly effective, labors to keep elephants out of villages’ livelihood is just as important. In the Village Outpost, the Denver Zoo conservation/biology research staff presents actual stories from people who work with elephants and native peoples through the struggles to help them co-exist.