Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s new African Adventure exhibit has officially opened to the public. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports families flocked to Thursday’s grand opening to greet the animals.

It was a day of celebration at the zoo as the 13 acre grand savannah opened to the public. As families walked around they were able to see a diverse collection of animals including African elephants, cheetahs, and rhinos, many of which weren’t previously at the zoo.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

After struggling to keep its accreditation back in 2004, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo got a boost from voters with a special sales tax. Now a decade later the zoo is again asking voters for their help on the November ballot. But as FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, some say Fresno’s zoo is already being saved.

Nearly eleven years ago Angel Arrellano wrote a letter to her local newspaper.

“Dear Fresno Bee. My name is Angel and I am nine. I heard that the Chafee Zoo is having money problems.”

Along with her letter, Angel sent something extra.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

In 2004, an initiative called Measure Z saved Fresno's Chaffee Zoo.  The voter-­approved measure allowed for an increase in county sales tax by one tenth of one percent.  Those 10 cents from every $100 spent in Fresno County prevented the zoo from raising its entry fees, while allowing it to make crucial repairs and add new exhibits, like Sea Lion Cove and African Adventure.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week in the program Valley Edition host Joe Moore interviews Fresno Bee science and environment reporter Mark Grossi about drought and a possible wet year, we talk about tiger cubs at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, discuss the Lisa Project, and speak with a cast member from the Fresno production of Wicked.