Tiger cubs at Cameron Park Zoo may help admissions

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 - 2:53pm

WACO -- Admissions are up at the Cameron Park Zoo, but not up enough.

So the zoo is asking for an additional 100,000 dollars from the city, totaling 1.5 million in funding for the 2012-2013 year.

"That 1 and a half million turns into a little over 10 million dollars in economic impact through our tourism visitors," Jim Fleshman, Zoo Director said.

Admission prices make up for about 1.6 million dollars earned by the zoo. Since 2005, the zoo has had consistently more than 250,000 visitors and that number may increase as downtown develops.

Fleshman says the money is an investment. The 1.5 million is also designed to help keep the cost of admission down. Cameron Park Zoo is 3 dollars below regular admission at many other major zoo's throughout the state. Though they did not hit their projected mark this year, admissions are still up 7 percent from last summer.

 "We haven't had as hot of days and hasn't been just so over bearing. But also little things like having baby tiger cubs out on exhibit can help."

"I like little animals and they're little, that's why, makes them cute," Ciara Higgins from Fort Hood said.

Having seven Sumatran Tigers makes up for 2 percent of all of the species in captivity. There are about 300 wild Sumatran's and a little less than 300 in captivity, Johnny Binder, the general curator for the zoo said.

"We had almost 400 people here at 8 o'clock in the morning, just to see the babies," Fleshman said.

The tigers are a part of the species survival group so the 3 cubs born in April will be around for about another year, while the two born last August may be transferred to another zoo soon.

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