PHOENIX (FOX 10) - As crews finish installing the viewing fence and a few other projects, the Asian elephants at the Phoenix Zoo anxiously await the opening of their new habitat.
"So this new exhibit space is almost doubling the size of their current area," Heather Wright said. "This area is going to be split into two, so each area is about half the size of the current exhibit."
The Phoenix Zoo is home to three elephants: Indu, who kept a curious eye on the workers, Reba and Shena.
Collection manager of the elephants, Heather Wright says the ladies have let her team know through their actions that they prefer their own space.
"I mean, elephants are designed to walk and move, so we're excited that they are going to have more area to do that and we're going to try to rotate them three times a day so they spend part of the day in each habitat," she said. "So it basically gives them more enrichment opportunity throughout the day."
"The sand pile, we are going to actually be moving that. We had to keep it over there due to construction, but we're going to be putting two huge sand piles underneath the shade structure here," Wright said. "They're basically beds, so elephants like to sleep on an incline slope, so we're going to put half the pile underneath the shelters so it doesn't get wet where they can lay under there and we will put another pile out in the habitat."
Wright says in the nearly 20 years she has worked with these beauties they have never known a different home than their current exhibit. She's excited for them to see it.
"We're going to open those gates and see what happens," she said. "There's a possibility they may not want to come out. I feel like at least two of them will come out pretty readily, but we will see."