Asian Elephants now enjoy five inspiring new habitats.
Former Mayor Betsy Price poses with Ramona Bass at the opening of Elephant Springs. Photo by Courtney Dabney.
Elephant Springs entrance sign. Photo by Courtney Dabney.
Elephant Springs debuted last April at The Fort Worth Zoo. Photo by Courtney Dabney.
Elephant Springs primary 400,000-gallon pool and river.
The Fort Worth Zoo’s newest habitat dubbed Elephant Springs is adding another accolade, earning a coveted Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Themed Entertainment Association. Fort Worth Zoo is one of only 13 international honorees overall, the only in one in the state of Texas, and it’s one of only six facilities in the United States to be recognized.
“There were many key players involved in this building project, notably The Projects Group, Dunaway Associates and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company,” Zoo executive director Michael Fouraker says in a statement.
“But none of this would have been possible without the driving force behind all of the Zoo’s advancements – our fearless leader, Ramona Bass. Her passion, commitment and vision are the reasons for the 30-year renaissance of the Fort Worth Zoo. The Zoo remains a top-ranked institution for both humans and animals alike.
“The mission of the Fort Worth Zoo is to strengthen the bond between humans and animals and Ramona has dedicated her life to this cause.”
Elephant Springs opened to the public in April of 2021 as PaperCity detailed. The $32 million habitat tripled the size of the elephant’s space — and added state-of-the-art back-of-house care for Fort Worth Zoo’s Asian elephant herd and its one-horned rhinos.
The inspiring habitat now encompasses five yards and its primary pool and river contain 400,000-gallons of water for the elephants to splash in. With the conservation of not only the animals at the Fort Worth Zoo in mind, but also its resources, a state-of-the-art water filtration system was installed to filter and reuse the water.
Other remarkable additions that were noticed in this most recent award — but largely go unnoticed by visitors to the zoo — continue to elevate the level of care for the Asian elephants. A climate controlled environment includes exhaust fans constantly in motion, keeping the air continuously circulating throughout and heating the space when necessary.
Since the area’s debut, Fort Worth Zoo’s elephant herd has increased with the birth of Brazos, now a 6-month-old calf.
What’s Next For The Fort Worth Zoo
The $130 million capital campaign and building project known as Wilder Vision kicked off with the premiere of African Savannah, which debuted in 2018. Elephant Springs is phase two of a four phase vision.
The next phase will be Hunters of Africa & Asian Predators, which will completely redesign portions of the Zoo, allowing for expanded habitats for lions, tigers, hyenas, African wild dogs, clouded leopards, cheetahs and several exotic bird species. Hunters of Africa & Asian Predators is scheduled to open in 2023. Phase four, Forest and Jungles, will then begin construction immediately.
“We knew we were creating something special with Elephant Springs – both for our beloved herd and our guests,” says Ramona Bass. “We’re incredibly proud to be recognized for creating a space that offers a highly immersive guest experience.
“But more importantly provides a natural, lush and enriching environment for this amazing and critically endangered species.”
When her Wilder Vision is complete, philanthropist and conservationist Bass will have modernized a Fort Worth crown jewel from top to bottom, cementing the Fort Worth Zoo’s reputation as one of the top zoo’s in America. If not the world.