The Denver Zoo announced Thursday that it will expand its operations to a 570-acre tract of land east of Greeley by the end of the fourth quarter.
The land is a donation by the Lembke Family who has enjoyed the zoo for many years.
“I’ve always been a big fan of the zoo and came to the conclusion that this made sense,” Bob Lembke, president of United Water and Sanitation District and a Weld County ranch owner, told BizWest. “I signed the documents for the donation last December.”
The preserve, which will be named the Lembke Family Preserve, will be developed in two phases. The first will expand the zoo’s breeding efforts for threatened species. It will also provide more space for the growing animal population than the Denver Zoo currently has.
The second phase will introduce a conservation center for conservation breeding and wild introduction of species threatened or endangered in Colorado and beyond.
The preserve will not be open to the public to protect the animals that will be living there.
“The Lembke Family Preserve represents the dawn of a new era for Denver Zoo and will dramatically expand our capabilities for our animals and Colorado wildlife as we build it out in the coming years,” Bert Vescolani, the zoo’s president and CEO, said in a prepared statement. “We are deeply grateful to the Lembke family for its generosity and mutual understanding that saving wildlife for future generations requires a dedicated community of donors, members, partners and neighbors.”