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Zoo Idaho continues wetland project for swans

The Zoo Idaho in Pocatello is moving forward with it’s 20-year improvement plan, starting with the wetlands.

Currently, the project is about halfway finished. The zoo just finished planting 23,000 bundles of grass around the 3 acres of water to provide vegetation for the animals who will live there.

In the fall, they’ll plant even more native grasses and come spring, they’ll plant wildflowers.

The wetland will be the home of two trumpeter swans that lost the ability to live in the wild on their own.
Soon, they’ll be living in the 8-acre wetland, which includes the water, land and vegetation, which is a replica of their native habitat.

The zoo plans to breed the swans and release the ducklings across Idaho. The zoo only houses local wildlife that are unable to live in the wild, making it one of the few sanctuary zoos in America.

The wetland will house more than just swans.

“We started off with the goal of trumpeter swan conservation and as you can see, this project has increased with the wetlands,” said Peter Pruett, Zoo Idaho’s superintendent.

The zoo also plans to create a bat condominium.

“It’s a little bit bigger than a bat house. Instead of a few bats, we’re looking at 500 to 1,000 bats,”
Pruett said.

The bats will feast on the water bugs that have already flourished at the wetland. The bugs will also feed amphibians.

“The amphibians, chorus frogs, salamanders, etc. will find their way here and the really cool part, that we’re hoping, is that we start seeing some leopard frogs here,” Pruett said.

Pruett has plenty more ideas for the wetlands.

“There’s a lot of potential here, a lot of fun things down the horizon. And it’s really neat, we’re blending the wildlife with captive life,” Pruett said.

He said he hopes a grant the zoo is applying for will help fund a new science center for the wetlands. That will provide hands-on learning for the zoo patrons.

This is all part of a 20-year plan to improve the sanctuary zoo, which includes improving the black bear exhibit. The project is expected to cost 3 million dollars.

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