Press Room

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Meet Maggie and Zazi!

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (June 13, 2012) – Zazi and her daughter Maggie moved into the new Laura P. Nichols Cheetah Outpost Monday night and became the first two cheetahs to reside at the new exhibit.

The exhibit is set for a grand opening on July 7, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.

Maggie and Zazi come to the Little Rock Zoo from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va. The institute facilitates and promotes conservation biology programs at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Zazi is 11-years-old, and her daughter, Maggie, is 18-months-old.

The grand opening of the new exhibit on July 7 will include a special address by Anne Schmidt-Kuentzel, Research Geneticist and Assistant Director for Animal Health and Research at the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a worldwide non-profit dedicated to saving the wild cheetah and its habitat. Schmidt-Kuentzel will give a special presentation on her work with CCF later that day.

A special “sneak-peek” of the new exhibit is set for Friday, July 6, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for Zoo members.

The new exhibit is a long, linear exhibit that develops a large portion of the Zoo’s new African Savannah area. It features two yards for the cheetahs and two new observatory decks for viewing the cheetahs in their habitat. The African Outpost exhibit was also renovated as part of the new exhibit and features new habitats for the naked mole rats and some African reptiles. This air-conditioned indoor space also features interactive educational displays about the plight of the wild cheetah and the work of CCF to save the cheetah.

Although the exhibit will open with two cheetahs, the exhibit is fit to hold up to five and is designed to allow for breeding. The Zoo is currently working with the Species Survival Plan for the cheetah to develop a breeding program.

The grand opening of the new Laura P. Nichols Cheetah Outpost marks the second major exhibit opening for the Zoo in the past year. The Laura P. Nichols Penguin Pointe exhibit opened in the spring of 2011.

Both the cheetah and penguin exhibits are sponsored by the Laura P. Nichols Foundation in Arkansas who provided funding for both exhibits. The cheetah exhibit is also partially funded through private donations collected through the Arkansas Zoological Foundation and through the 2009 refinancing of park bonds by the City of Little Rock.

About the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute plays a key role in the Smithsonian’s global efforts to understand and conserve species and train future generations of conservationists. Headquartered in Front Royal, Va., SCBI facilitates and promotes research programs based at Front Royal, the National Zoo in Washington D.C. and the at field research stations and training sites worldwide.

About the Little Rock Zoo and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums
The Little Rock Zoo provides engaging experiences that inspire people to value and conserve our natural world. The Zoo was founded in 1926 with a timber wolf and a circus trained bear. Today the Zoo boasts more than 700 animals representing 200 species, many of which are endangered. Located in the heart of Little Rock at War Memorial Park, the Zoo consists of 33 acres of manicured land and animal exhibits. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, visit