Land of the Tiger exhibit opens Saturday at the Jacksonville Zoo

The Florida Times-Union

March 7, 2014 – Five tigers — two Sumatran, three Malayan — are the main attraction in the Land of the Tiger exhibit opening Saturday at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

But the $9.5 million expansion of the zoo’s Asia Precinct features other exotic animals with Asian roots as well: Visayan and babirusa pigs, small-clawed otters and wreathed and wrinkled hornbills.

Land of the Tiger is the most significant addition to the zoo since the Range of the Jaguar opened in 2004, said Tony Vecchio, the zoo’s executive director. Though the jaguar exhibit is larger and cost more, Vecchio said, he believes Land of the Tiger is even better.

“All the things that we did with the jaguar exhibit — the theming, the special views, the underwater viewing, the ‘nose-to-nose’ experience through glass — we’ve done for the tiger exhibit,” Vecchio said, “but we’ve also given the animals more freedom and choices as they roam. I think we’ve learned a lot about not just the physical needs but the psychological needs of the animals and how to keep them stimulated.”

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