Mountain Lions, Jaguars and Mexican Wolfs will be the new guests at the El Paso Zoo’s latest exhibit, the Chihuahuan Desert.

Construction of the 2.3-acre exhibit began today and will continue through 2019 with the grand opening slated for Fall of that year. The new exhibit will replace the original Chihuahuan section, which housed several small animals, such as the giant Bolson Turtle, Mexican Burro, Sandhill Crane, and American Turkey. Some of the animals will return, however, the new design is geared towards accommodating larger animals, such as the Jaguar and Mountain Lions. A Ranch House will also house several insects and small animals while offering a view into the new Mexican Gray Wolf exhibit.


When complete, the new exhibit will contain habitats for the native Chihuahuan Desert animal species, botanical landscaping, and a large unique rockwork structure to exhibit large cats. Engaging elements will include overhead animal pathways and a breathtaking public art installment, according to city officials.

The $14.1 million project is part of the 2012 Quality of Life Bond, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters. In total, $50 million out of the $473.2 million, is being spent on improvements at the El Paso Zoo.

The El Paso Zoo has seen it’s largest expansion in recent years, from the new African exhibit, which brought giraffes and lions to El Paso for the first time in 2010, as well as several amenities, such as the Wildlife Amphitheater in 2016. The Zoo is a 35-acre facility that houses animals representing over 220 species, including critically endangered species.

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