The Watani Grasslands Reserve combined the zoo’s existing 3.5-acre elephant exhibit with the adjacent 3.5-acre rhino exhibit to create a combined 7-acre habitat for elephants. The rhinos were then mixed with antelope in an improved 37-acre African Plains exhibit next door to the elephants.
The off-exhibit, existing holding barn for the elphants was altered and improved to house only the zoo's Southern White Rhinos and a new, 12,000-square-foot, $2.5-million elephant barn was constructed nearby. This state-of-the-art facility will enable the zoo to improve husbandry and veterinary care for its elephants and expand its herd up to 10 animals of different ages and sexes. The expanded rhino facilities and exhibit space will allow the zoo to accommodate 10 or more rhinos as well.
The new African elephant barn and holding yards were constructed from used oil pipeline steel, saving energy, resources and money.