Toyota Elephant Passage:
Open NOW at the Denver Zoo
Majestic Asian elephants caring for their young, greater one-horned rhinos cooling off in a shallow stream, acrobatic gibbons swinging overhead from tree to tree, fishing cats diving for their next meal and the piercing stare of a clouded leopard ... all right here in Denver!
Occupying 10-acres on the southern edge of the Denver Zoo, Toyota Elephant Passage (formerly Asian Tropics) is the largest bull elephant habitat in the world. The expansive, $50-million complex allows visitors to explore and discover the rich history of animals in Asian culture, their complicated relationship with humans and the efforts of Denver Zoo and its colleagues to protect their future. In short, it's Denver's newest must-see!
Toyota Elephant Passage is divided into three thematic habitats:
- The Preserve- With virtually no visible barriers between you and the animals, this habitat puts you right in the thick of things. As you walk along the Preserve boardwalk to view elephants, rhinos and tapirs, you will see gibbons swinging directly overhead as they move between three island habitats.
- Asian Village- This habitat serves as the exhibit hub, offering opportunities to understand and appreciate the diverse array of Asian animals and their complex relationships with human populations.
- Village Outpost - Here, vistors enter a rural village struggling to co-exist with elephants. The damaged huts and crops will convey a profound message about the damage that elephants can do to local residents' livelihoods.
- Asian Elephant- Weighing in at an average of 11,500 pounds and stretching 18-21 feet long, these are the largest land mammals in the world. Toyota Elephant Passage plans to provide homes for up to a dozen Asian Elephants.
- Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros- Also known as the Indian Rhino, these beautiful creatures love to swim. There are only about 2,000 – 2,600 endangered Indian rhinos currently in the wild.
- Malayan Tapir- Tapirs are primitive large mammals most closely related to horses and rhinos. The tapir’s flexible nose can be used as a snorkel -- so keep an eye out for them swimming in Toyota Elephant Passage's pools!
- Gibbon- These apes are the only true brachiators, spending the majority of their travel time swinging effortlessly through the trees.
- Clouded Leopards- These jungle cats spend most of their time in the trees -- and can leap 15 feet from branch to branch!
- Fishing Cat- Unlike many cat species, fishing cats love the water and are powerful swimmers. They push through the water with their webbed hind feet and use their short flattened tail like a rudder to help control direction as they swim.
- Flying Fox- Despite its name, this guy is actually a member of the bat family. They have eyes that are much larger than most bats -- more closely resembling the eyes of nocturnal primates.
- Sarus Crane- These are the largest of all the crane species and the tallest flying bird alive today. Before mating, paired cranes engage in intensive periods of elaborate dance moves that include head bobbing, leaping, deep bowing, running with wings flapping and short ritual flights accompanied by loud trumpeting calls.
- Asian Small-Clawed Otter - These playful critters are the smallest of the 13 otter species. They otters form monogamous pairs for life.
One of the most exciting components of Toyota Elephant Passage is the use of a biomass gasification system, which can turn human trash and animal waste into energy to power the exhibit. The gasification system converts more than 90 percent of the zoo’s waste into usable energy. Biomass gasification is a clean, environmentally-friendly technology that has been in use for decades, but has never been used for such a diverse waste stream ranging from human trash to animal waste.
Learn more about Toyota Elephant Passage.