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Oregon Zoo wins two top awards for condor recovery project, new Elephant Lands exhibit

Samudra plays in the Elephant Lands pool at the Oregon Zoo. (KATU photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon Zoo is being honored with two awards for their important conservation work with the California condors and the zoo’s stunning new Elephant Lands exhibit.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) recognized the Oregon Zoo’s efforts Tuesday at its annual conference in Indianapolis.

One of the awards is for taking top honors in the North American Conservation Awards category for their efforts in a collaborative California condor recovery project, Oregon Zoo officials said.

The other was the Exhibit Award for the recently-opened Elephant Lands project. Zoo staff said the Elephant Lands was their most ambitious exhibit to date.

“We are deeply honored,” said Dr. Don Moore, Oregon Zoo director. “These awards are some of the highest distinctions in the zoo world. They represent the respect of our peers from around the country.”

The Oregon Zoo has taken home nine of the AZA’s major awards since 2012.

“Earning that many awards over the span of six years is extraordinary,” said AZA president and CEO Dan Ashe. “But it doesn’t surprise me. I visited the Oregon Zoo in March and was impressed with both the beauty of the facility itself and the work they’re doing on behalf of species conservation, education and animal welfare. Oregonians can be very proud of their zoo — it’s one of the top zoos in the country.”

More info from the Oregon Zoo:

The Oregon Zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, western pond turtles and Oregon spotted frogs. Other projects focused on saving animals from extinction include studies on Asian elephants, polar bears, orangutans and cheetahs.

Support from the Oregon Zoo Foundation enhances and expands the zoo’s efforts in conservation, education and animal welfare. Members, donors and corporate and foundation partners help the zoo make a difference across the region and around the world.

The zoo opens at 9:30 a.m. daily and is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Call TriMet Customer Service, 503-238-RIDE (7433), or visit trimet.org for fare and route information.

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