The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

San Antonio Zoo opens new exhibit sponsored by Texas A&M University-San Antonio

San Antonio Zoo opens new exhibit sponsored by Texas A&M University-San Antonio - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

A jaguar explores the new addition to its habitat, the Pantera Walk, allowing it to freely roam among other creatures at the San Antonio Zoo. Courtesy Photo: San Antonio Zoo.

Texas A&M University-San Antonio is sponsoring a new exhibit at the San Antonio Zoo featuring the university’s mascot, the jaguar. 

The ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 29 opened up Neotropica and the Pantera Walk, a sky bridge providing more space for the jaguars to roam. The $1.7 million exhibit was completely funded by donors.

Tim Morrow, president and CEO of the San Antonio Zoo, described Neotropica as a way to “celebrate wildlife from across the neotropics and to bring special experiences to our guests.” The exhibit also reflects the importance of the work the zoo does to protect rainforests and the wildlife and the people within them, Morrow said.

The highlight of Neotropica, the Pantera Walk, is a unique catwalk system designed for the zoo’s two jaguars, Arizona and B’alam, and sponsored by A&M-San Antonio. The Mesquite asked Jeanette De Diemar, vice president for university advancement and external relations, how much money the university contributed to the exhibit. However, De Diemar did not respond to the request by Nov. 1.

“With this world’s first habitat, jaguars are afforded 120% more room to roam, and with its focus on animal welfare, creates a natural enrichment for the jaguars to be up high in tree tops, down near rivers and surrounded by other species just as they would in the wild,” Morrow said. 

Rebecca Viagran, director of workforce development and community partnerships at A&M-San Antonio, spoke as a representative of the collaboration between the university and the San Antonio Zoo.

“We knew the benefit of being part of the history of San Antonio Zoo,” Viagran said. “When the university decided to support Neotropica and the Pantera Walk, we knew this was a rare opportunity for so many reasons.”

The partnership between A&M-San Antonio and the San Antonio Zoo represents an opportunity for internships and research opportunities for students and faculty, as well as exemplifying the two institutions’ commitment to “building pathways that support education and knowledge,” Viagran said.

“The Pantera Walk presented by Texas A&M University-San Antonio is an opportunity for thousands of visitors to discover, learn and to amplify family and educational experiences,” Viagran said. “Thousands of visitors will learn about protected and endangered species and their environments and the critical need to support conservation.”


About the Author

Jade Moreno
Jade Moreno is a communication junior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. She transferred from San Antonio College in fall 2020. She works the front desk at a busy hotel near the airport in addition to going to school. In her spare time she likes listening to music, playing video games and reading psychological crime/horror novels.

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