Issaquah zoo raises more than $50,000 to add cheetahs

October 22, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 22, 2010

Cougar Mountain Zoo is more than $50,000 closer to opening a cheetah exhibit.

The zoo hosted a gala fundraiser last month to raise some of the $100,000 needed to add cheetahs a big cat collection comprised of tigers and a cougar. The masquerade soiree raised $51,800 through ticket sales, auctions and the chance to purchase a photo alongside a 4-year-old female cheetah.

Cougar Mountain Zoo aims to become the first facility in Washington to open a cheetah exhibit.

Zoo leaders announced plans last summer to add a cheetah exhibit and plan to construct and open the habitat by late 2011 or early 2012.

“We sincerely appreciate your support, participation and generosity toward bringing cheetahs to the Cougar Mountain Zoo,” General Curator Robyn Barfoot wrote in a letter to donors.

The zoo has held similar fundraisers to raise money for a tiger exhibit.

The tiger collection includes 3-year-old Bengal tigers Taj and Almos. Bengal tiger cubs Bagheera and Vitez debuted at the zoo last summer.

Wildlife Safari, a drive-through preserve about 90 minutes south of Eugene, Ore., is the only Pacific Northwest facility to exhibit cheetahs.

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