The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Funds at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo has awarded $15,000 to the Buffalo Zoo. This money will be used to support the renovations of the historic reptile house, an exhibit space that has been an integral part of the zoo for more than 70 years.
The Buffalo Zoo is currently in the process of raising $2.5 million in funds necessary to preserve the historic structure and upgrade exhibits and overall infrastructure. The reptile house was originally designed by renowned zoologist Marlin Perkins (host of "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom)," when he was curator at the Buffalo Zoo. It was considered the best reptile house in the country when it first opened on June 21, 1942.
Over the past 70 years, however, the building has deteriorated significantly. The zoo has currently raised $1.9 million and, with this award, moves one step closer to breaking ground.
Major exhibits of the reptile house will feature the West African dwarf crocodile, the smallest species of crocodile in the world; and the King Cobra, the longest venomous snake in the world. In addition, the renovations will allow for a new signature species that is sure to be a crowd pleaser: An expansive exhibit area will welcome Komodo dragons - the largest lizard in the world.
The Buffalo Zoo is one of 19 organizations from across Western New York to receive grants from endowment funds created to carry on Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.'s legacy of giving and visionary leadership.