PORTLAND -- The Oregon Zoo officially broke ground on its new $53 million elephant habitat.
The zoo, well-known for its Asian elephant exhibit, plans to expand the current one-and-a-half acre habitat to more than six acres.
When finished, the new exhibit, called Elephant Lands, will provide a roomy home for the zoo’s elephants and be environmentally friendly as well.
Heat from the polar bear exhibit will completely heat the forest hall building attached to Elephant Lands. The elephants' water will be re-circulated through a filter system instead of being dumped and re-filled.
In addition, trees cut down during construction will be recycled into logs that the elephants can play with.
The funds for the new exhibit came from a bond measure passed by voters in 2008. Elephant Lands will officially open in 2015.
KGW Reporter Keely Chalmers contributed to this article.