Utica Zoo’s campaign to improve the primate building has brought in $364,787.52, surpassing the goal of $350,000 for phase one. The campaign was announced on December 1, 2015 with the bold message “We Don’t Like It Either!” a response to zoo visitors wanting to see a more naturalistic habitat for the primates. The building was constructed in 1927 and currently houses white-handed gibbons, Mexican spider monkeys, golden lion tamarin, and Argentine black and white tegu.
“As the Utica Zoo pursues the vision described in the recently unveiled Dream Big Master Plan and accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, several changes are being made to the exhibits and grounds,” said Executive Director Andria Heath. “Invariably we hear, ‘This all looks great, but what about the bars and tile in the primate building?’ We heard this loud and clear, and we acted.
“We are thrilled with the support we are receiving from our region and beyond and are excited to announce that phase one of this project will begin in spring of 2017. The success of this campaign is attributed to every gift we received; from the elementary school student who created wristbands with his birthday money and sold on behalf of the campaign to large contributions; some of the largest in the history of the Utica Zoo.
“Each gift made is an investment in the educational experiences of the people who visit the Utica Zoo on a daily basis.”
Signature gifts include a $25,000 kick off gift from Joan Sinnott, PhD and $25,000 from the Bank of Utica Foundation, $50,000 in state funding secured by Senator Joe Griffo, $20,000 from the Save of the Day Foundation, and a $100,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties.
Furthermore, gifts of any amount contributed from July 19 through Oct. 31 up to $25,000 were matched by an anonymous donor. This contribution was a win for the Utica Zoo and the donors who anonymously stated, “When Andria (Heath) called and told me about the response from the Greater Utica community to our $25,000 matching fund challenge, which was gifted ‘in memory of a remarkable man,’ I was astounded. It brought tears to my eyes. I am so excited that we were able to provide an incentive for this project and that residents in the Greater Utica area came together, met, and exceeded our challenge for the “We Don’t Like it Either” fundraising campaign for renovating the primate building.”
All funds raised for the Utica Zoo remain local and provide the foundation to insure the Utica Zoo will continue to be a quality of life asset and tourism magnet for the Greater Mohawk Valley. Further phases to the current primate building, the Zoo’s future Living Rainforest, will continue as funds are raised. Additional phases will provide exhibit space for the spider monkeys, tamarins, and sloths. General donations continue to be crucial for the day to day care of the animals calling the Utica Zoo home.
Tax-deductible donations to the Utica Zoo can be made in the following ways:
1. Mail: 1 Utica Zoo Way, Utica, N.Y. 13501
2. Phone: (315) 738-0475
3. Online: uticazoo.org/donate
4. In person: Utica Zoo Gift Shop
To stay up to date on all things Utica Zoo, visit UticaZoo.org. Daily updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @UticaZoo.