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Minot zoo kicks off $5 million campaign for new cat habitats

This drawing shows the new Amur Tiger habitat planned at the site of the existing duck pond near Roosevelt Park Zoo's Visitor Center. Tigers will roam three separate yards with waterfalls and overhead catwalks. Visitors will walk through and around the habitat on the Amur Tiger Trail. Submitted drawing1 / 2
This drawing shows the new habitat for the African lions planned at Minot's Roosevelt Park Zoo. New habitat would also be constructed for tigers and leopards. Submitted drawing2 / 2

MINOT, N.D. -- Minot's Roosevelt Park Zoo officials wants the community to help reach the $5 million goal to finance a three-phase project for new lion, tiger and leopard habitats.

On Wednesday, Roosevelt Park zoo director Becky Dewitz,  Minot Parks executive director Ron Merritt  and vice president of the Minot Zoo Crew and chairman of the Centennial Capital Campaign Jennifer Shirley announced the launch of the community's part in the campaign.

It is the first large-scale capital campaign leading up to the zoo's centennial year in 2021. Slightly more than $2.5 million has already been raised. A $1 million grant from the Minot Community Facilities Fund, $1 million from the Minot Zoo Crew and a $500,000 grant from the Minot Area Community Foundation provided a start for the total cost.

"We're asking for our community to come together and help us to get these exhibits – these major renovations we're talking about at the zoo," said Merritt. He said the Minot Park District is behind the project 100 percent. "Roosevelt Park Zoo is a gem in our community and we're very proud of it," he said.

Dewitz said the new projects will provide the animals with larger and more natural habitat.