ELK GROVE, Calif — The Sacramento Zoological Society has entered into negotiations with the city of Elk Grove to discuss potentially relocating and expanding the zoo.
According to the press release, if negotiations are successful, the new zoo would be located on undeveloped land in south Elk Grove in the Kammerer Urban Design Study Area.
“Elk Grove is well-positioned to provide space and support for a new zoo that will be a major attraction for visitors throughout the Sacramento region and northern California,” said Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen in a statement.
The site in Elk Grove is about a 60-acre portion of a 98-acre parcel of land. The zoo has been exploring possible relocation sites for nearly four years in Sacramento.
Zoo officials have said in the past that its outdated enclosures would need to expand to meet updated standards set by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. However, the current zoo cannot expand beyond its 14.7 acres because it's landlocked.
Throughout the search for a new location, animal habitats have continued to age and according to the Sacramento Zoo, "accreditation is increasingly at risk," so it is "critical that the zoo find a new home as soon as possible."
During the next six months, the two organizations will discuss an agreement for the construction of the new zoo.
“Our first priority is always doing what is best for the animals,” Zoological Society Board President Elizabeth Stallard said in a statement. “That commitment is driving this opportunity to provide the zoo’s animals with exceptional care in a larger, more modern facility that can better meet their needs and, in turn, inspire and connect more people with the natural world. We are delighted that the Zoological Society and Elk Grove share a vision for what a new zoo could mean for our region."
The Sacramento zoo has been in Land Park for 94 years.
Sacramento Councilmember Katie Valenzuela responded to the potential move on her Facebook page, noting that the zoo hasn't been able to find a new location in Sacramento for years.
"With changing standards of care for animals, it needs more space - after an exhaustive, years-long search, we've been unable to find a suitable location in the City of Sacramento," Valenzuela said. "I'm hopeful we'll figure something out, and welcome the Mayor's call for a public meeting in the near future to discuss our options. In the end, our work must be governed by what's best for the animals."
Watch more from ABC10
Sacramento Zoo is trying to relocate. But why?