KSL File

Trees downed in windstorm bring new life to Hogle Zoo exhibits

By Felicia Martinez, KSL TV | Posted - Oct. 9, 2020 at 8:26 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s been just over a month since the devastating windstorm ripped through northern Utah.

As part of the cleanup efforts, many of the fallen trees were sent to Utah’s Hogle Zoo for the animals to use in their enclosures.

Getting something new will always bring out a little enthusiasm.

“I’ve never seen the bears this excited, actually,” said Rachel Daines, who was visiting Utah’s Hogle Zoo on Friday.

“Usually they are pretty sleepy,” she said as the grizzlies clawed through some of the repurposed logs covered in new bark for them to enjoy.

“They love digging those claws in there,” said Erica Hansen, Hogle Zoo community relations director. “They want to look for little bugs, they want to look for anything that smells new, smells neat — it’s great for their claws.”

She said placing 60 new trees throughout the zoo’s exhibits has been weeks in the making following Utah’s massive windstorms.

“This is kind of the silver lining where we're able to repurpose some of those old trees,” she said. “So some of these gorgeous trees were from Fairmont Park, the City-County building, Liberty Park, and they had quite a few blown over from Salt Lake Cemetery as well.”

The collaboration was made possible through partnerships with the Department of Forestry, This is the Place State Park, and Wagstaff Crane for their services and equipment. The project also is saving the zoo thousands of dollars in landscaping fees and bringing some good out of something so destructive.

“We have lots of trees down in our neighborhood, so it’s good to see them do something constructive with them,” Daines said. “It would have been a shame for all those trees to go to waste when there’s places that could use them.”

The grizzly and polar bears aren’t the only ones getting some enrichment. The giraffes, zebras, gorillas and the elephant exhibits have been spruced up as well.

Felicia Martinez

KSL Weather Forecast