Niabi Zoo Opens - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Niabi Zoo Opens

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After a long Winter, Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, IL opened for the season on Monday, but there may be struggles ahead.

One thing leaders at Niabi are focused on this season is working to get accreditation back.

In 2011, the zoo lost it's accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

At the time, the Zoo Director told KWQC it was because animal enclosures weren't up to standards.

That's still the case with the lion enclosure, about a $3 million project. 

Right now, they just don't have that kind of money.

"Accreditation for thezoo is still a big priority here," says Niabi Zoo Director Marc Heinzman. "We've been working pretty hard to get thataccomplished. We still have some more work that needs to be done before we getthere though. One thing we need to do is update some of the exhibits, so we needto get the lion exhibit done. That's a big piece of the project."

If Niabi doesn't get accredited, it's harder to get new exhibits and animals on loan.

Otherwise, you won't notice much difference here.

This year, there are plenty of new things to see including a new red wolf, and snow leopard.

One thing you won't see this year are the elephants, Babe and Sophie.

They were moved to Arkansas last Fall, to live in a warmer climate.


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