Zoo Knoxville plans US$18m reptiles and amphibian habitat
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Zoo Knoxville plans US$18m reptiles and amphibian habitat

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Zoo Knoxville in Tennessee, US, is to rehouse its reptiles and amphibians in a new US$18m (€15.9m, £13.8m) home.

Called the amphibian and reptile conservation campus (ARCC), the new space will stretch across 2.5 acres, replacing the existing bird aviary, and will also allow for a new species of Cuban crocodiles to live at the zoo.

It will feature a greenhouse where guests can watch herpetologists at work and an outdoor ecological habitat where children will be invited to collect specimens and take them to an ‘adventure lab’ to explore.

The ARCC will be renamed as the Clayton Family ARC Campus when built in honour of American businessman Jim Clayton’s commitment to the zoo and his philanthropy, which includes a US$5m (€4.4m, £3.8m) gift from Clayton and FirstBank for this very project.

"The ARCC will support the zoo's internationally recognized work with critically endangered amphibians and reptiles," said a Zoo Knoxville statement.

"The use of the ARCC acronym for the new campus is a reflection of the role Zoo Knoxville has as a modern-day 'ark' and the work being done to save animals from extinction.

"Zoo Knoxville's herpetology team is internationally acclaimed and helped found the Radiated Tortoise SAFE program, which is working in collaboration with conservationists in Madagascar to return rehabilitated tortoises to the wild."

The zoo is aiming to begin construction on the area in August, having held a groundbreaking ceremony on 10 April.

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